As part of the Saturday work party session, re-establishing an original path, this headstone (behind the standing cross in these photographs) was discovered underneath a mass of ground ivy. Firstly, the base was uncovered and then the fallen headstone which was face-down. The ivy was cleared and the stone was very carefully turned and placed safely against its base so that the face was visible. After a couple of washes using plain water and a nylon-bristle brush, the stone and its perfectly intact raised lead inscription came up very well.
Who knows when the face of this stone last saw the light of day but it could be a couple of decades.
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Please stop cutting the ivy from the ground. It’s such a winter lifeline for wildlife as the link here shows. The barren areas the team have scraped up round stones are really a kind of damage to animal and plant life. It’s not necessary either. Can you perhaps find a way to record the stones info and leave the wildlife alone? Perhaps build.up a written record a map with photos and put online? I’d be happy to joi such a project It’s so hard for nature to the e nowadays. A cemetery is one rare example where naturè can be left in peace. Its a shame to do the opposite.
Warriston Birder said:
Thank you for your interest and concern, Sophie, but I assure you that in all matters we first seek advice from persons with appropriate qualifications. Anent ivy, we are advised that there is far too much of it and that it’s threatening to swamp the entire Cemetery. Years before the Friends started, the Cemetery would have failed the criteria for classification as a Biodiversity Site, precisely because of the lack of plant diversity.
We do plan to leave areas of ivy on the ground and larger clumps of it for flowers and berries (although the wildlife “larder” is rich enough) as we understand the benefits of retaining a certain amount. In the older parts of the Cemetery we have no intentions (despite ill-founded rumours to the contrary) of returning to shorn lawn grass, rather to have some areas with a mixture of longer grass and wildflowers. Far more diverse! Clearly various stages are involved to achieve this over a period of time.
First and foremost, Warriston Cemetery is a family burial ground and families are entitled to visit safely. Had the City of Edinburgh Council not effected a Compulsory Purchase Order so that it remained a burial ground, the Cemetery with its semi-woodland setting would no longer exist: it would be yet another sparse modern “development” with a couple of patches of blank grass and a few small trees. We aim to strike a balance between the requirements of families and wildlife. And surely you don’t think that this part of Edinburgh is short of green spaces and wildlife habitat!
Caroline Gerard, Secretary, The Friends of Warriston Cemetery.