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    • Latest News

      Bees at Highgate Cemetery

      by Maurice Melzak

      I was delighted when an opportunity arose to keep my bees in Highgate Cemetery about five years ago. Living close by, I had long realised it was an ideal site for a small apiary - secure and not too close to any people. The bees are on the Western side, on the terrace adjacent to St Michael’s church. With two beekeeping friends, Ian and Dee, there are eight hives.

      It is a surprise to many people that there are beekeepers in London but in fact urban bees tend to do quite well.  Unlike in the countryside, which may have vast monocultures of oilseed rape, towns and cities contain parks and gardens with an abundance of flowers and trees that blossom from early spring to late autumn. Most of these plants are not covered in pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, and this can only help too.

      Honeybees have been in the news a great deal recently, sadly for all the wrong reasons.  All over the UK (and in Europe and the US) honeybees are dying and colonies are being lost at an alarming rate. This is a huge concern as the pollination of crops by honeybees is worth millions to the British economy. They pollinate apples, pears, runner beans and soft fruits like strawberries and raspberries.

      Though pollution and climate change have been implicated, the main reason for the losses seems to be Varroa, a parasitic mite that sucks the blood of the bees and can introduce viral infections at the same time. All hives are affected to some extent and the result can be much less honey produced or, even worse, a colony to weak to sustain itself. Varroa has now wiped-out virtually all wild colonies of bees, so beekeepers are the only way honey bees are maintained in London, or anywhere else.

      So beekeepers are doing their best to keep their colonies going in the hope that there will be proper funding for research that might offer some solution to this and the many other threats honey bees are facing.

      Bees are such remarkable insects in the way the colony is organised. The single queen lays hundreds of eggs each day and the worker bees are her daughters. The workers are able to understand another worker’s 'bee dance', which pinpoints the exact location of a promising source of pollen and nectar, up to three miles from the hive.

      The cemetery bees could not be in a more beautiful location, surrounded by acres of flowers and trees. Let's hope they can thrive and continue to produce the most delicious honey.

      Maurice Melzak

      Photo of Maurice Melzak in action!  

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  • Cherishing Churchyards Week

    cherishlogo-week-green-206x300Saturday 8th June - Sunday 16th June 2013

    Join us for a special week to celebrate churchyards and burial grounds and to raise awareness of the treasures they contain.

    Churchyards are special places:

    • They often contain a rich diversity of plant and animal life.
    • They are important places for archaeology and history.
    • They often have distinctive and veteran trees.
    • The stonework and boundary walls provide a home for a mosaic of mosses, ferns and lichens.
    • They provide a tranquil place for quiet reflection.
    • They are a resource for inspiration and community learning.

    Churchyards are often within walking distance of local communities and can provide a focus for community involvement.

    Are you interested in celebrating your local churchyard or burial ground?

    Examples of activities include:

    For families: A quiz, a treasure hunt, a mini beast safari, tree bingo, letter or leaf rubbing, making gargoyles out of clay…

    Open days: guided tours, slide talks, tower tours...

    Volunteer activities: making compost areas, scything the grass, repairing the boundary walls, memorial recording, bramble clearing, nest box making, path clearing…

    Workshops: dry stone walling, memorial safety and care, plant identification, animal identification, dawn chorus, geology, tree care, archaeology, creative writing, art, singing…

    Please visit Conservation Advice/Advice Sheets for Download section on this website if you feel the following information may be useful:

    • Activities for Young People
    • Attracting Volunteers
    • Health & Safety Information
    • Cherishing Churchyard Logo

    If you would like to register your event as part of National Cherishing Churchyards week, please download and fill out the registration form.

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  • Churchyard & Burial Ground Education Pack1

    This education pack is suitable for children aged up to about 11 years of age.  It contains activities for schools (EYFS, KS1 & KS2) with links to both English and Welsh curricular. (Welsh to follow soon)

    There are also links to Scouting and Guiding badges and challenges plus the John Muir Award scheme.

    Many activitieswould be suitable for family events, Sunday Schools or other informal groups.

    Have a look at document 1; The Churchyard and Burial Ground Education Pack to get an overview of all the activities and use the Writing Frames for posters and fliers as well as for children's work.

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  • Churchyard & Burial Ground Education Pack- Welsh
       

    Mae Pecyn Addysgol Gofalu am Erw Duw yn addas i blant hyd at tua un ar ddeg oed. Mae wedi’i greu ar gyfer athrawon sy’n dysgu plant yn y Blynyddoedd Cynnar ac yn yr adran Cynradd. Yn y pecyn ceir cysylltiadau cwricwlwm Cymraeg a Saesneg. Hefyd, mae llawer o’r gweithgareddau’n addas ar gyfer clybiau ieuenctid, gan gynnwys Ysgolion Sul a grwpiau o Sgowtiaid a Guides (mae’r bathodynnau a’r heriau wedi’u rhestru). Mae safleoedd claddu’n llefydd rhagorol ar gyfer cymryd rhan yng nghynllun Dyfarniadau John Muir hefyd, ac mae ffurflen gais wedi’i chynnwys ar gyfer hyn.

    Yn seiliedig ar bump thema, mae’r pecyn yn cynnwys cyfoeth o weithgareddau a syniadau dysgu.

    Y pump thema yw:  

    • Llefydd Gwerthfawr      
    • Beth yw’r Stori?
    • Cofadeiladau Campus        
    • Bywyd Gwyllt Rhyfeddol
    • Celf a Phensaernïaeth

    Mae’r pecyn addysgol wedi cael ei rannu’n 3 rhan:

    • Nodiadau Athrawon / Arweinwyr (y teitl yw Pecyn Addysgol Mynwentydd a Safleoedd Claddu)
    • Taflenni Gweithgarwch
    • Fframiau Ysgrifennu

    Dechreuwch drwy edrych ar y ddogfen Nodiadau Athrawon / Arweinwyr, sy’n cyflwyno cefndir i ymweliadau â safleoedd claddu ac yn amlinellu’r gweithgareddau amrywiol ar gyfer pob un o’r themâu. Mae’r adnoddau sydd eu hangen ar gyfer pob gweithgaredd wedi’u rhestru’n glir. Bydd y rhain yn cynnwys y Taflenni Gweithgarwch yn aml.

    Defnyddiwch y Fframiau Ysgrifennu gyda gwaith y plant yn ôl yn yr ysgol ac ar gyfer gwneud posteri a digwyddiadau hysbysebu.

     
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  • Grassland
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  • For Sale
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