Other Locations

Names, links and information about the various localities within the study area

 

 

Birds of Manor Park Cemetery

In a list of birds known to have been seen in Manor Park Cemetery as of July 1996, 42 species were totalled. Twenty years later, in 2016, my own observations - made from very infrequent visits to the cemetery but with the advantage of being able to view it from my home - some changes were evident. Here follows a list of the birds that I know of. Others, surely, wil be or have been present, and doubtless local "birders" will be aware of these.

The most dramatic changes, perhaps, has been the loss of Bullfinch, Tree Creeper, House Martin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch, and the gain of Ring-necked Parakeets.

1996 - 2016 - comparison list with comments

Blackbird A common and consistent species, no real change of status noted
Blackcap It was unusual in 1996 to see these during the winter, but is not uncommon in more recent years. Common in Summer
Blue Tit Coomon and consistent through the years
Bullfinch Although never a frequent bird, one could be seen occasionaly back in 1996. I haven't seen one locally for many years
Carrion Crow As frequent as ever, and often nests in the trees lining the north edge of the cemetery
Chaffinch Quite frequently seen or heard. No change in status noted
Chiffchaff Common from Spring through summer, and occasionally seen during winter months
Coal Tit These were never a numerous species, but could regularly be seen. In recent years they have become quite rare.
Collared Dove Frequently seen or heard; no real change of status noted
Common Whitethroat In the years around 1996 these were not infrequently present during the summer months, and in Autumn were one of a few species that would annualy "line up" on a long-wire aerial prior to departing. They are still to be seen, but less frequently
Dunnock No real change of status noted
Feral Pigeon No real change of status noted; probably over the years there local presence has depended a lot on whether food-stuff is put out which they find convenient
Firecrest Only occasional sightings of this species through the years, but possibly more frequent now.
Goldcrest No real change of status noted.
Goldfinch This species in the last two or so years seems to have increased substantially, although they have always been quite frequent
Great Tit Common, and with no real change of status noted
Greenfinch Common, and with no real change of status noted
Greater Spotted Woodpecker Usually present at times through the years, although possibly more frequent nowadays, making more use of adjacent gardens
Green Woodpecker A frequently heard or seen species, with no real change of status noted
House Martin In the years around 1996 House Martins would be extremely common feeding over the cemetery and adjacent gardens. There were nests on many of the houses in Capel Road, but this is no longer the case. Ther are no nests and it is unusual even to see a martin over the cemetery
House Sparrow These, as is well known, became very scarce through the years. However in the last five or so, the numbers have increased significantly. They exist in what seem to be discreet groups alnong the length of Capel Road, some feeding at times in the cemetery
Jay A frequent user of the cemetery; no real change of status noted
Kestrel This is another species which seems locally to be less common than before, although there is often one to be seen on nearby Wanstead Flats. Not distinctly noted in the cemetery, but almost certain to visit at times.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker This was never a common species, but it is rare now and I haven't seen one in the cemetery for a long time
Linnet Probably as always just a winter visitor, passing through
Long-tailed Tit A common bird with no real change of status noted
Magpie Common and with no real change of status noted
Mallard Not really asuitable habitat for ducks, as there are no ponds. However, they do and always have occasionally visit, and indeed one nested one year in the cemetery just below the north wall.
Mistle Thrush A commonly enough seen or heard bird, often from the tops of the trees lining the north cemetery boundary
Moorhen As with the Mallard, no real reason for them to be here, but I have seen one in a small tree in the cemetery near my garden
Nuthatch Never a common bird, but in the 1990s not unusual, That is not the case now, and I haven't seen one for years 
Redwing As would be expected, a winter visitor sometimes seen in numbers. No real change of status noted
Ring-necked Parakeet This was an almost unheard of species during the 1990s, but numbers have increased during the last ten years. Early in this period, flocks might pass over the cemetery each day S-N in the morning, N-S in the evening. Since 2012, ther have been occasional visits to the cemetery and adjacent gardens. In 2015/6 six birds are frequently seen.
Robin Common as always
Song Thrush Numbers have declined over the years, but in all years these have been heard
Sparrowhawk Occasionally seen attempting a kill. No real change of status noted
Starling Numbers declined since the 1990s, but in the last few years have risen, with flocks visiting to feed from Wanstead Flats
Swallow These were a species that would assemble on my aerial during Autumn in the '90s, but only occasionally glimpsed now.
Swift Not in the cemetery of course, but the most common Hirundine over it these days
Tree Creeper As with the Nuthatch, never a common bird, but in the 1990s not unusual, I haven't seen one for years in the cemetery or adjacent gardens
Willow Warbler Another of the Autumn "aerial" birds. Never as common as the Chiffchaff, but now rarely even heard.
Woodpigeon Common as ever, and young ones often seen
Wren Common, with no real change of status noted

 

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St. Mary's Church and Churchyard, Little Ilford

Description and Plant List

The Church of St Mary the Virgin in Church Road, Little Ilford, was built as early as the 12th century. In 1724 the chancel was rebuilt, and at the same time a chapel was built on the north side for the Lethullier Family of Aldersbrook. This contains monuments to John Lethullier (d. 1737) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1724), and to Smart Lethullier (d. 1760) (photo). Until 1938 St Mary's was the parish church of Little Ilford.

There is also a brass to Thomas Heron (d. 1517). The family of Heron held the Aldersbrook Estate for some time. Sir John Heron was keeper of the estate until his death in 1521; he also held lands in Wanstead and it is reputed that he brought herons to the area. The name is still remembered in association with Wanstead. A pane of glass in the old round window of the Church shows a heron. (photo)

TABLE 1. A list of Plants found in St Mary's Churchyard, Little Ilford

Plants recorded in 1991 by Paul Ferris and Richard Baker

Plus those noted in 2015 by Paul Ferris

 

Stace - 2nd edSpecies - StaceCommmon Name19912015Status
33
Dryopteris filix-mas Male Fern  15/07/91 - Not noted in 2015
51
Taxus baccata Yew  15/07/91 28/05/15 Self-seeding
88
Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup  15/07/91 28/05/15 On mound at south of church
101
Mahonia aquifolium Oregon Grape  15/07/91 28/05/15 Planted - a large shrub S. of church
114
Ulmus procera English Elm  15/07/91 28/05/15 Regenerating from felled trees.
117
Urtica dioica Nettle  15/07/91 28/05/15 Occasional plants
162
Stellaria media Common Chickweed  15/07/91 28/05/15 Particularly close to N. side of church
168
Sagina procumbens Procumbent Pearlwort  15/07/91 -  
176
Silene latifolia White Campion  15/07/91 -  
186
Polygonum aviculare Knotgrass  15/07/91 -  
191
Rumex acetosa subsp. acetosa Common Sorrel  15/07/91 -  
195
Rumex obtusifolius Broad-Leaved Dock  15/07/91 -  
210
Tilia x europaea (vulgaris) Common Lime  15/07/91 28/05/15 Trees form major part of E. boundary
212 Malva sylvestris Mallow -  28/05/15 Particularly S. of church
220 Viola odorata Sweet Violet  -  28/05/15 Some patches towards S. boundary
227
Populus x canadensis Hybrid Black Poplar  22/07/91 28/05/15 Two large trees SE of church
250
Sisymbrium officinale Hedge Mustard  15/07/91 -  
262
Lunaria annua Honesty  15/07/91 -  
313 Sedum anglicum English Stonecrop  - 28/05/15  Large patch along the west wall of the church
335
Rubus sect. Glandulosus Bramble  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered
346 Geum urbanum Wood Avens  - 28/05/15  Scattered
361 Rosa canina Dog Rose  -  28/05/15 Towards S. Boundary
395 Pyracantha coccinea Firethorn  -  28/05/15 Planted - a large shrub E. of church
397
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn  15/07/91 28/05/15 Two large trees E.of church
412 Vicia sativa Common Vetch  - 28/05/15  A few plants
420
Medicago lupulina Black Medick  15/07/91 28/05/15 Common in lawn
425
Trifolium repens White Clover  15/07/91 - In lawn
444
Epilobium hirsutum Great Willow-herb  15/07/91 -  
446
Epilobium montanum Broad-Leaved Willow-herb  15/07/91 -  
448
Chamerion angustifolium Rosebay Willow-herb  15/07/91 -  
456 Ilex aquifolium Holly -  28/05/15 A large tree near W. edge
461 Euphorbia peplus Petty Spurge -  28/05/15 By W. porch wall
468
Aesculus hippocastanum Horse Chestnut  15/07/91 28/05/15 At least one large tree
470
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore  15/07/91 28/05/15 Some large trees, plus many seedlings
482
Geranium molle Dove's-Foot Cranesbill  15/07/91 28/05/15 Frequent in lawn
482
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered, with large patch at SE corner of graveyard
490
Hedera helix subsp. helix Ivy  15/07/91 28/05/15 Paricularly at S. boundary, and on many gravestones
501
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered in grassed area and on graves
531
Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet  15/07/91 -  
531
Solanum nigrum Black Nightshade  22/07/91 -  
535
Calystegia silvatica Great Bindweed  15/07/91 -  
548 Pentaglottis sempervirens Green Alkanet   28/05/15  Frequent, particularly near boundaries
559
Ballota nigra ssp. foetida Black Horehound  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered, particularly gowing on or by graves
560
Lamium album White Dead-nettle  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered
583
Plantago major Great Plantain  15/07/91 28/05/15 Frequent in lawns
584
Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain  15/07/91 28/05/15 Frequent in lawns
585
Buddleja davidii Buddleia  15/07/91 -  
587
Ligustrum ovalifolium Garden Privet  15/07/91 28/05/15 A large shrub to E. of church
602
Veronica serpyllifolia Thyme-leaved Speedwell  15/07/91 -  
604 Veronica arvensis Wall Speedwell -  28/05/15 Scattered by graves and on N. boundary wall
605 eronica hederifolia Ivy-leaved Speedwell -  28/05/15 Close to E. boundary
638 Campanula poss. poscharskyana Creeping Bellflower  -  28/05/15 On brickwork at W. boundary
649
Galium aparine Cleavers  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered 
651
Sambucus nigra Elder  15/07/91 28/05/15 A number of shrubs
652
Symphoricarpos albus Snowberry  15/07/91 -  
656 Lonicera sp. Honeysuckle  - 28/05/15  Some plants at E. end of graveyard
678
Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered
686
Lapsana communis subsp. communis Nipplewort  15/07/91 -  
686
Hypochaeris radicata Common Cat's-ear  15/07/91 28/05/15 Common in grass areas
688
Picris echioides Bristly Ox-tongue  22/07/91 -  
689
Sonchus arvensis Corn Sow-thistle  15/07/91 -  
690
Sonchus oleraceus Smooth Sow-thistle  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered in grass areas and on graves
698
Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia Dandelion  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered in grass area
728
Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew  15/07/91 -  
728
Bellis perennis Daisy  15/07/91 28/05/15 Common in grass areas 
732
Achillea millefolium Yarrow  15/07/91 -  
740
Senecio squalidus Oxford Ragwort  15/07/91 -  
740
Senecio vulgaris Groundsel  22/07/91 -  
852
Lolium perenne Perennial Rye-Grass  15/07/91 -  
858
Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass  15/07/91 28/05/15 Frequent
859
Dactylis glomerata Cock's-Foot  15/07/91 28/05/15 Frequent
864
Arrhenatherum elatius Tall or False Oat-grass  15/07/91 -  
868
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog  15/07/91 -  
874
Agrostis stolonifera Creeping Bent  15/07/91 -  
874
Agrostis capillaris Common or Fine bent  15/07/91 -  
883
Phleum bertolonii Smaller Cat's-tail  15/07/91 -  
895
Hordeum murinum Wall Barley  15/07/91 28/05/15 Scattered patches by graves, and on N. boundary wall

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St. Mary's Church and Churchyard, East Ham

Description and Plant List

The Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene is over 800 years old and its churchyard is one of the largest in Britain. The church is still used but since 1977 the churchyard has been managed to protect its wildlife. The WREN Conservation Group played an active part in establishing aspects of the churchyard for the benefit of wildlife and visitors. This included the creation of hedges and a plaque in the churchyard commemorates this.

Nowadays, the Group is not active here, but instead the Newham Conservation Volunteers (NCV) do work from time to time as part of their programme.

David Franklin, who was sixth former studying Biology at East Ham Boys Grammar in 1972/3, has written to the Wren Group to give some background to the early ecology work in St. Mary's Church. He says that the then Head of Biology Stephen Forrester, then close to retiring, used the "captive" sixth formers to do some of the background investigation of the Flora & Fauna. He feels that Stephen was never really credited as being one of the moving forces in the establishment of the Nature Reserve.

The area near to the church is kept tidy for the benefit of worshippers, wedding guests and photographers.

 

A list of Plants found in St Mary's Churchyard, East Ham

This list was made during an initial survey of the site on 30th June 1977 by Paul Ferris.

The sequence of plants in the list follows the order and nomenclature of Clapham, Tutin and Warburg (1962), and the page numbers which refer to a particular species are indicated by 'CTW'

 

CTW
Scientific Name
Common Name
69 Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup
96 Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy
98 Papaver somniferum Opium Poppy
129 Sinapis arvensis Charlock
131 Diplotaxis muralis Annual Wall Rocket
149 Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd's Purse
160 Armoracia rusticana Horse Radish
180 Sisymbrium officinale Hedge Mustard
182 Sisymbrium altissima Tall Rocket
196 Viola sp. Garden Pansy
217 Silene alba White Campion
242 Stellaria media Common Chickweed
276 Chenopodium album Fat Hen
291 Tilia x europaea Common Lime
297 Althaea rosea Hollyhock
320 Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore
323 Ilex aquifolium Holly
329 Lupinus (polyphyllus) Garden Lupin
330 Laburnum anagyroides Common Laburnum
335 Medicago lupulina Black Medick
341 Trifolium repens White Clover
345 Trifolium pratense Red Clover
361 Lathyrus latifolius Broad-Leaved Pea
371 Rubus fruticosus agg. Bramble
409 Rosa canina agg. Dog Rose
421 Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn
474 Epilobium tetragonum Square-stemmed Willow-herb
478 Chamaenerion angustifolium Rosebay Willow-herb
494 Hedera helix Ivy
505 Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley
510 Conium maculatum Hemlock
520 Aegopodium podagraria Ground Elder
529 Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed
532 Bryonia dioica White Bryony
545 Polygonum aviculare Knotgrass
547 Polygonum persicaria Red Shank
549 Polygonum cuspidatum Japanese Knotweed
556 Rumex obtusifolius Broad-Leaved Dock
556 Rumex crispus Curled Dock
561 Urtica dioica Nettle
562 Humulus lupulus Hop
563 Ulmus procera English Elm
635 Anagallis arvensis Scarlet Pimpernel
666 Calystegia sepium sepium Hedge Bindweed
666 Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed
666 Calystegia sepium silvatica Great Bindweed
751 Ballota nigra Black Horehound
754 Lamium album White Dead-nettle
754 Lamium purpureum Red Dead-Nettle
764 Plantago major Great Plantain
784 Galium aparine Cleavers
788 Sambucus nigra Elder
821 Senecio squalidus Oxford Ragwort
823 Senecio vulgaris Groundsel
846 Bellis perennis Daisy
851 Achillea millefolium Yarrow
854 Matricaria matricarioides Pineapple Mayweed
854 Matricaria recutita Scented Mayweed
859 Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort
864 Arctium minus Lesser Burdock
866 Cirsium Welted Thistle
869 Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle
883 Hypochoeris radicata Common Cat's-ear
891 Lactuca serriola Prickly Lettuce
930 Taraxacum officinale Dandelion
968 Asparagus officinalis Asparagus
974 Endymion non-scriptus Bluebell
1130 Lolium perenne Perennial Rye-Grass
1149 Anisantha sterilis Barren Brome
1159 Hordeum murinum Wall Barley
1165 Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog

 

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Manor Park Cemetery - an overview

 

In 1787 Hamfrith Farm, the site today of the Godwin and Sebert Road Estate in Forest Gate and of Manor Park Cemetery, belonged to John Greenhill whose home was Hamfrith House (built about 1800 and demolished in 1891; known from the 1860's as West Ham Hall), now the site of Woodgrange School in Sebert Road. The land was sold in 1851 to Samuel Gurney (d. 1856), brother of Elizabeth Fry the prison reformer. In 1872 his grandson John Gurney sold much of Hamfrith to the British Land Company who two years later sold it to the Manor Park Cemetery Company.

The Cemetery was established in 1874. Initially opened purely as a cemetery, the original chapels, lodge and main entrance were built in 1877. Only the tower of the chapel survived when it was hit by enemy action on 23rd July 1944. The rebuilt chapels, incorporating crematorium facilities, were opened on 2nd November 1955.

Manor Park has full records from 1875, the first interment being one William Nesbitt who was buried on the 25th March 1875. His grave can still be seen on the right hand side of Remembrance Road. Manor Park has the honour of having the youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross buried in the grounds. John Travers Cornwell VC was only 16 when he died of wounds received at the Battle of Jutland. The memorial to Mary Orchard who died in 1906 was erected in grateful memory by some of Princess Alice's children whom Mary served for forty years. These were Victoria, Princess Louis of Battenburg, Elizabeth, Grand Duchess Sergius of Russia: Irene, Princess Henry of Prussia, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, Alix, Empress of Russia.

This cemetery is shielded from Whitta Road, Capel Road and Ridley Road by the houses that were built on part of the original estate not required for the cemetery. On the southern side is the main Liverpool Street to Southend and Colchester railway line. Incidentally, Capel Road - originally called Duncan Road - is named after an old Essex family whose most famous member was Arthur Capel (1631-83) who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and later Earl of Essex. It is probably he that the road is named after.

Manor Park Cemetery covers 50 acres with an attractive mix of woodlands, grassed areas, old and new traditional graves, lawn graves, gardens of remembrance, shrubs and walks. Even though cremations now comprise something like 70% of all UK funerals, many burials still take place, and burial grounds are at a premium. Thirty years ago, from a house whose garden is separated from the cemetery by only a 5ft wall, even in the depths of winter it was almost impossible to see a gravestone through the thick mass of trees that formed much of the cemetery's northern boundary. Now those trees have been all but removed, leaving only a line of mature Lime (Tilia x europaea) trees to shade the gardens, and gravestones stretch away across the cemetery. Unfortunately, many of these are of a black polished stone that appears virtually impervious to weathering and gives a bleak outlook. With the trees, it seems, went cover and habitat for many wild birds including Tawny Owls which were frequently heard and seen. At one time even a Barn Owl could be heard, but no longer. A variety of birds are still present of course, and a list is given on the next page. Foxes are just as frequent in the cemetery and adjacent gardens as ever! A list of plants found in the cemetery was made in 1977 and again in 1996. This is available from the link below, together with some additional records.

For a list of birds found in Manor Park Cemetery click here

For a list of plants found in Manor Park Cemetery click here

For a list of some other wildlife in the cemetery click here

 

References.

VICTORIA COUNTY HISTORY OF ESSEX, VI. O.U.P.

WOODGRANGE NEWS. The Journal of the Woodgrange Residents Association. 1986.

THE MANOR PARK CEMETERY AND CREMATORIUM. Brochure produced by Steergood Association on behalf of the Manor Park Cemetery and Crematorium.

MOVIN' ON - THE STORY OF THE AREA OF ST MARKS IN FOREST GATE. By Martin Wallace and produced by St Marks Church, Forest Gate.

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The Birches Nature Reserve

 

The Birches Nature Reserve within the City of London Cemetery was opened in 2006, having been created in a wooded area at the eastern edge of the cemetery.

The wood is likely to have remained almost untouched since the Corporation of London bought the land in 1854, at which time it was Aldersbrook Farm. (For more information on Aldersbrook Farm and Aldersbrook Manor, click here)

Adjacent to an area which has been for long used as tip for the waste material generated within the grounds, the wood acted as something of a screen for the tip. In addition, a stream runs through the wood which prohibits the use of the area for burials. The stream is actually the Alders Brook, though this has been to a great extent culverted beneath the tip and only emerges into a pond which was created perhaps in the 1970's as a wildlife amenity. (see "The Alders Brook" - click here)

In fact, the amenity value of the pond has been very limited both to wildlife and to human visitors due to it being so overshadowed by trees and its isolated location within the wood. Only with the creation of the nature reserve has it been possible for visitors to view it with any ease at all.

Whereas the stream that constitutes the Alders Brook flows out of the cemetery eastwards through a culvert towards the River Roding, some of the water - when there is much flow at all - actually backs up from the pond into a wide gully that stretches slightly south of west through the wood. As the whole of this area is very overgrown with bramble, ivy and other plants, it is difficult to appreciate that this gully is actually the remains of the Great Canal, an important landscaped asset of the Manor of Aldersbrook!

Since the nature reserve has only been established since about 2005, and only "officially" open since 2006, a comprehensive survey of the site has not yet taken place. However, an introduction to some of the plants that may be found is given below.


The Birches

 

Although called the Birches, perhaps the most significant tree of the woodland is grey poplar Populus canescens, with numerous mature trees and young ones. Silver birch Betula pendula is present within the wood and particularly along the edges and just outside of the wood proper. Some mature specimens are to be found by the boundary fence. It readily seeds itself.

There are some large horse chestnuts Aesculus hippocastanum seeding readily, as does sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus. There is some scattered holly Ilex aquifolium, elder Sambucus nigra, and numerous yews Taxus baccata, some of which were planted in the 1980s. However, as is true of nearby areas of Epping Forest, this species is regenerating readily. The ground cover is somewhat sparse, except for ivy Hedera helix, which in some parts is the dominant ground cover. As well as a more normal form of leaf, an attractive cut-leaved form is also present (photo). Nettle Urtica dioica exists on the edges of the wood, as does daffodil Narcissus spp. and Spanish bluebell Endymion hispanicus, both likely to have been introduced by way of throw-outs. Nearer to the tip area is a large expanse of ground elder Aegopodium podagraria. There are some pedunculate oaks Quercus robur, some tall Turkey oaks Quercus cerris, great sallow Salix caprea, and wild cherry Prunus avium along the northern edge of the wood. The wood is a quiet area of the cemetery, and rarely visited. Much use is made of it by a variety of birds, even woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) and snipe (Gallinago gallinago) have been seen.

 

A tour of the Reserve

The Birches Nature Reserve may be approached from the old crematorium building by walking north-eastwards and along Limes Avenue. As the road bears to the right, look out for the wooden sign on the lawn to the left : "The Birches"; this is by some mature specimens of silver birch on the lawn.

At the edge of the lawn, the boundary of the woodland is formed by bramble and bracken, and it is suggested that the left-hand entrance to the reserve is taken, formed by a log-pile which is a good place to look for fungi. The track leads into the woodland, with a mix of trees to either side including towering grey poplars - which are actually more plentiful here than birches - and Turkey oak. There is a scattering of holly, and it is worth looking at the variety of leaf-shapes and colours of the specimens here, and a mixed understory of bramble and ivy. The path is a soily gravel, and many plants may establish themselves in it. Typical of these are species such as herb robert, groundsel and Canadian fleabane. Part-way along the path some log benches have been formed, which again provide a home for fungi such as Stereum and ear-fungus Auricularia auricula-judaea. Honey fungus Armillaria mellea is frequent on the logs which have been used to delineate the path.

col birches 051027 7379

Where the route turns right, looking straight ahead between tall trees and through the rough undergrowth, it will be seen that the ground dips sharply away to form a valley. This is the site of the ornamental canal that once formed an important feature of the Aldersbrook Manor estate, but is now almost forgotten and unseen.

The Birches is a refuge and feeding area for many birds, as well as foxes and other smaller mammals. Of the more unusual species that have been recorded here, perhaps woodcock and snipe should be mentioned. It is the relative isolation and quietness of this are that has attracted these, but it is much more common to see birds such as wrens, blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits and - particularly in the winter when the cemetery provides a refuge for many continental visitors, wood pigeons. Great spotted woodpeckers are commonly heard or seen, and the area should provide a good habitat for lesser-spotted woodpeckers too - although in recent years these have been scarce. The smallest of our British birds, the goldcrest, is common here too.

Always, the path-side logs should be looked at for fungi, and Turkeytail and inkcaps Coprinus spp. may be found in their season. Walking parallel with the canal (to the left), large grey poplars are ahead, and yews. The path eventually turns right again, but look first at the disk-shaped logs that have been piled at the corner. These provide a home for not only fungi and slime-moulds, but a host of insects and crustaceans such as the wood louse Porcellio scaber. Before proceeding along the main track, drop down the slight slope to the wicker-fence. Beyond this is a pond created before the nature reserve was formed, but as wildlife habitat. The pond is fed by water that flows from a conduit - just visible to the left - and is the Alders Brook. This really is an out-of-the-way area, and secretive birds may use it. The small duck Teal have been seen here, making use of the shallow margins. The pond may be almost filled at times with celery-leaved buttercup Ranunculus sceleratus. On the concrete of the conduit, ferns have found a home and include hart's-tongue.

Returning up the slope, it will be noted that there are some silver birch hereabouts as well as a large numbers of yew trees. Although there are seedlings, the majority were planted in the 1980s. These are popular with the already-mentioned goldcrests. Some elegant sharp-leaved ivy will be seen on the left which contrasts well with other ivy of the more normal leaf-shape nearby. Once more, logs used to line the path are good for fungi, and as some of these are elm the patterns formed by the larvae of elm-bark beetle may be seen. These are particularly visible on the last log-pile as the path exits the Birches to return to the lawn.

 

Acknowledgements :

Acknowledgements are due to Mr. Ian Hussein, Director of the Cemetery, to Xa Naylor, Service Development Officer, to Gary Burkes and other members of the cemetery staff who have been so helpful in gaining access, providing information and establishing the nature reserve.