Study finds rare species of wildlife at Shrewsbury cemetery
The conservation charity Caring for God’s Acre (CfGA) and Shropshire Council are working together to highlight and care for the broad range of biodiversity and in some cases rare species that can be found at Longdon Road cemetery in Shrewsbury.
Over the summer and autumn, volunteer botanists, from Shropshire Wildlife Trust, and two of Caring for God’s Acre’s trustees, Colin Wright and Sheila Spence, surveyed the cemetery and found it to be a rich source of wildlife.
The botanists revealed a wealth of wildflowers and grasses, making it an ideal habitat for bees and butterflies. Whilst a bird survey by Colin Wright, one of the vice presidents for the Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS), has established that the cemetery is a peaceful haven for a range of birds such as wren, blue tit, long tailed tit, chaffinch, greenfinch, chiffchaff, starling and a bird causing concern because of its decline in numbers – the song thrush.
A fungal survey, by Sheila Spence, discovered 6-10 species of waxcap fungi, which alone makes the cemetery of regional importance for fungi. Scarlet and Parrot waxcaps are amongst those found, as well as 3 species of the striking coral, or spindle fungi.
Shropshire Councillor Steve Charmley, Cabinet Member for Bereavement Services has commented on the collaboration:
“We are delighted that the conservation charity Caring for God’s Acre is working with us at Longden Cemetery to record, conserve and enhance wildlife on site. Cemeteries provide a peaceful and tranquil environment for humans and wildlife alike and provide much needed open green space. We look forward to involving the local community in caring for and enjoying this fantastic place”.
Sue Cooper, CfGA Manager said “It is fitting that this site should be cared for with conservation in mind as it contains the grave of Mary Webb, author of books such as Gone to Earth and Precious Bane which were inspired by the beautiful countryside of Shropshire and its wildlife”.