Outrage over church pathway made of gravestones near Bedford

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A newly-laid pathway made of ancient gravestones has been slammed as downright disrespectful by parishioners.

The path of headstones appeared this week outside the old St Mary’s Church in Clophill.

A scheduled historic monument, the disused 14th century church attracts hundreds of visitors due to its reputation of being haunted.

“I was horrified when I saw some of the old headstones from St Mary’s are being made into a path. To add insult to injury, they appear to be face down,” said one villager.

Another said: “Hundreds of years of history has been disregarded. People are literally trampling all over our ancestors’ headstones. It’s an insult to the dead.”

The pathway, called Poetry and Peace Path, was built by the Clophill Heritage Trust, which aims to preserve and educate people in the history of St Mary’s.

The Trust set up a company called Clophill Eco lodges, which rents out eco accommodation nearby to tourists.

Clophill residents say they were not consulted the use of the headstones, which for years have been stacked up against the churchyard wall.

The heritage trust, which is also building a new greensand stone wall, says the stones were removed from graves in the 1960s and had been a target for vandals ever since.

Only blank stones – where the inscriptions had worn off – were used for the path, said a spokesman.

She added: “A remembrance garden will be planted alongside the path with poppies and native wildflowers and the wall will incorporate seating areas.

“It will be a truly peaceful place for anyone who wishes to come and sit and remember their loved ones.”