Falmouth Victorian CemeteryJune 12, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F
At first glance, much of Falmouth’s Victorian Cemetery looks wild and unkempt. There is method to this madness.
When it comes to their historic burial ground, Falmouth Town Council GETS IT. They understand that cemeteries are for the living. In fact, they even have a sign explaining the importance of this magnificent cemetery.
It’s well worth reading, check it out:
“The older parts of Falmouth cemetery is valued by the local community for many reasons. Consecrated in 1857 it still serves as a place of remembrance. Many visitors include it in their regular walks as a place to immerse themselves in Nature as they follow the seasonal changes. Others visit for its historic interest or to discover its wildlife.
Since 2016 Falmouth Town Council has begun to develop a maintenance methods to address these varying needs. Other challenges faced in the management of the
cemetery include climate change and invasive plant species. Over 50 species of solitary bees can be found in the cemetery together with 7 species of bumblebees.
You can find one of Cornwall's rarest bees in the cemetery, the Long-horned Nomad Bee, (Nomada Mirtipes). These are Cuckoo bees and the females lay their eggs in the nests of the Big-headed mining bee, (Andrena bucephala), another species rarely found in Cornwall. Only the males have an oversized head.
The best time to see both species is in late April and May. Like many solitary bee species once they emerge from the nest as adult bees even the lucky ones will only have a life expectancy of about eight weeks.
Unlike honey bees who have a queen with thousands of workers, a female solitary mining bee is a single mum who both makes her nest by digging a tunnel and collects pollen and nectar for her young entirely on her own. Different species appear from Spring to Autumn, the last one to appear in the cemetery is the Ivy Bee which times its appearance to the flowering of Ivy in September.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CEMETERY
We live in one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, with only 53% of our biodiversity left. A study by the Natural History Museum in 2021 places us in the bottom 10% of all countries and last of all the G7 nations.
A good example of this decline can be seen in the numbers of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies in the which have shrunk by 75% since the 1970's.
Butterflies present a more difficult conservation challenge compared to bees, as not only do the adults rely on nectar and pollen from flowers but their caterpillars tend to be very particular as to what plants they eat.
The caterpillars of the Small tortoiseshell feed on common nettle (Urticadioica) and small nettle (Urtica urens). With stinging nettles not being ranked very highly as a wildflower by many people this makes conservation of this butterfly a challenge.
There are a few nettle patches in the cemetery and these together with places
where the adults butterflies can hibernate means there is a resident population. By accepting a degree of wildness in the cemetery it provides a refuge for this beautiful butterfly and other wildlife.
The maintenance work carried out in the cemetery places a high priority on its value as an important site to preserve local biodiversity. The timing of the grass
cutting in the summer is usually carried out around the beginning of June.
This coincides with the flowering of brambles that offer an alternative source of nectar and pollen. It also allows the flowering of late summer wildflowers in August and September. These together with Ivy flowers are an important food source for insects such as queen bumblebees to build their reserves before hibernation.”
Isn’t that impressive? I think more historic burial grounds should take an approach like this, don’t you?Read more