Joyce Kilmer

Close-up of the bench.
The bench with the car park in the background.

The opening words of ‘Trees’, by American poet Joyce Kilmer ( 1886 – 1918), feature on this bench.

It is sited near to Strutt’s North Mill, overlooking the weir. This site was chosen because Beth was a volunteer at the North Mill Visitor centre in Belper, (now a central feature of both the Derwent Valley Heritage Way and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site).

Local designer-maker Anita Spencer, who uses sustainable methods, has charcoaled and inscribed a cedar bench, which was been installed by an alder tree overlooking the River Derwent, in front of the Visitor / Information Centre and museum. This is a surprisingly appropriate method considering that the first mill on the site, constructed in wood, burnt down in 1803!

Please note: In the Spring of 2020, the alder tree pictured above was chopped down – a new young tree has been planted.

The poem extract is a gentle reminder not to take poetry too seriously, and Beth loved trees, so it is doubly fitting. Ogden Nash famously parodied the poem as follows:

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.

(“Song of the Open Road”, 1933)

Contact Anita at:

Strutt’s  North Mill, Belper:

Derwent Valley Mills: