Longden Road cemetery in Shrewsbury is the venue for a special event, organised jointly by the charity Caring for God’s Acre and Shropshire Council, on Thursday 11th September, starting at 7pm. There will be a choice of guided walks led by Harriet Carty of Caring for God’s Acre and Mark Foxall of Shropshire Council. Kate Singleton will talk about Wildlife Site status and the importance of this large green space within the centre of Shrewsbury. People will see for themselves what a special place the cemetery is for wildlife and local history and also find out what opportunities there are to become involved in its care. For example it has been suggested that a Friends of Longden Road Cemetery be established.
The cemetery, opened in the1850’s, has a Grade 11 listed chapel and cloisters and the grounds of 30 acres which are open to the public all year are important for a broad range of plants and animals and in some cases they are rare species. Due to its importance, particularly for its grassland, part of the cemetery is being designated as a Local Wildlife Site.
Harriet Carty for Caring for God’s Acre said ‘The cemetery contains lovely species rich old grassland, full of flowers and in the autumn there is a spectacular array of colourful , rare grassland fungi such as waxcaps’.
A fungal survey, by the mycologist,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 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.
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”.
The event, which starts at 7pm is open to all and free of charge. Between 9pm and 10pm there will be a bat walk led by Dan Gordon-Lee.