Chesterfield man builds massive 9ft bug hotel in shape of iconic Crooked Spire church

A 68-year-old Chesterfield man has constructed a 9ft tall nature sanctuary in the shape of the town’s iconic Crooked Spire.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 1:26 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 1:27 pm

David Betts, from Arkwright Town, started building the ‘bug hotel’ which is intended to house spiders, insects, hedgehogs, rats and mice, as well as birds during the first lockdown after he was furloughed from his job at Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop.

With more time on his hands, he spent the next two months constructing the massive animal sanctuary out of pallets, tin, flower boxes, pipe and discarded materials on his allotment next to Arkwright Miners Welfare Social Club.

He used the wooden pallets to give smaller animals and bugs space to enter the ‘church’ and installed a ramp underneath to keep foxes out – before filling the building with nesting materials such as grass and straw to provide a ‘haven’ for wildlife.

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David Betts with the Crooked Spire bug sanctuary he built during lockdown.
David Betts with the Crooked Spire bug sanctuary he built during lockdown.

While the spire itself is hollow, it supports horizontally positioned plant pots, complete with cut out holes for birds to enter and to perch on top of.

David said: "I wanted to think of something local that everybody can relate to.

“I always knew that I couldn't create the twist which is quite unique but I had some wood which just allowed me to make a normal spire and put an incredible lean on it.

"So that is my twist on the twist.

This is what the Crooked Spire Bug Church looked like after David finished constructed it last June.

"If there's one thing I haven't got a fear of it's that anybody is ever going to steal it because you'd need a crane to do it I think.”

Earlier this week, David painted a rainbow on the building to symbolise the hard work and sacrifice of NHS.

So far he has seen plenty of birds, including doves and pigeons, perch on top of the bug hotel’s crooked spire which is located on the allotment.

David, who has already received a request to make another animal sanctuary, added: "It does give you a bit of satisfaction there is no doubt about that.

The bug sanctuary is a 'haven' for spiders, insects and birds.

"It's nice that it has cleared up a poor area of land and made an interest of it.

"The feedback I've had from the general public has been very very positive.

"My wife put it on Facebook and she had 350 hits on it off of Facebook, that's how popular it was at grabbing people's attention."

David painted the NHS flag on the church in tribute to the hard work of healthcare staff during the pandemic.

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