I was working up at the burial ground the other day. Charfield’s burial ground, which opened spring equinox 2012, is potentially the thing I’m most proud of as a parish councillor. It was the need for a new burial ground in the village that first called me to volunteer with the Council, back in 2007, and when we opened the gate on that first day it was a good feeling.
Anyhow, I was working up there and I thought I’d document some of the wildflowers that have found their home in the currently unused half of the burial ground. It was our intention from the very start to hold back half of the ground and seed it with wild andflowers to attract bees, butterflies and other insects and small mammals. This was always to be a living burial ground!
The preparation of the site required a levelling operation to address the unimproved, steep and irregular nature of the land, formerly a donkey paddock. That led to some 260 tonnes of local topsoil being brought onto site, and with it a fair few weeds of the sort not really wanted – ie nettle and creeping thistle. The land was quite fertile too, so grass took readily to the new gently sloping terrain.
Six years on, with hand pulling of nettle and thistle and a little spot application of firmer controls, the nettles and thistles are giving way to luscious grasses and flowers. The butterflies and bees are all over it right now. As I worked, the relative of one of our interred folk came to visit and mentioned how marvellous the burial ground was, and particularly how well it compared with the local authority managed churchyard next door!
The one bit that’s bothered us to date has been the lavender edged memorial rose bed, where ashes may freely be scattered (by agreement), because not everyone can afford a full interment and not everyone wants a permanent burial or cremation site. But the roses haven’t thrived, and now I know why. It’s roe deer. They’re coming in the early hours (sometimes at dusk) and eating the bushes to the ground! Plans are afoot to address this!
So anyway in a grid atop this page is a selection of photo’s taken today. I’ll not name them all yet, though (of course, ahem) I could name many. Perhaps you’d like to try naming them for me. How many bugs can you see, and what are they? Come on, fun for all the family…