Nature of the cemetery

Although the work we are doing at the cemetery is about clearing the overgrowth from graves we are also very conscious of the wild-life that is present there.  The cemetery as an open space is an oasis of nature in the midst of the surrounding housing developments.  Whilst paying attention to the graves we would also like to preserve as far as possible the nature of the place as well.

We decided that a survey of the flowers and wild-life in the cemetery would be a good start.  We approached John Whetman from Devon Wildlife Trust to come along and do that initial survey for us.  The idea would be to repeat this next Spring for comparative purpose and to pick up any other species which would be more prevalent at that time of year.

The results of this initial survey are contained in a spreadsheet which can be accessed through the following link:

Teignmouth Cemetery Flora & Fauna


12 thoughts on “Nature of the cemetery

  1. I note, with interest, the wild life flora and fauna audit.
    My observations over the last few years, since the cemetery has ceased to be regularly maintained, is that an enormous area is overrun by and being choked by Ivy. You only saw it “occasionally”….I am amazed
    As I live in the South East and my last 4/5 visits have been so upsetting, I have decided to stop making any further visits, to tend the family graves. There may not be any new burials, in the old cemetery, but how sad that it is not worthy of being tended….and the ivy being kept under control.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jackie. Yes the whole cemetery is badly overgrown, some areas worse than other. So we have a huge task in front of us to clear the many years of neglect. The ivy and bramble are two of the toughest plants to remove, especially where they have become deep-rooted. The bottom section of the cemetery is where the oldest graves are located and probably has some of the worst areas of overgrowth so that is where we have chosen to start (with one or two exceptions). There are also some fairly large areas containing unmarked graves which, in terms of wild-life, are a little like a meadow-land environment so they offer some opportunities for conserving some of the natural aspects of the open space. To make the clearance a little easier we have asked Teignbridge district council (who are responsible for the cemetery) to selectively spray the heavy areas of bramble and ivy. I believe that they have carried out one spraying but it will take several applications to eradicate the deep roots. Hopefully you will return one day and see the difference we are starting to make.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello again Jackie just spent 90 minutes trying to remember where your contact details are….whilst working in the cemetery this morning along with other Friends of Teignmouth Cemetery volunteers as we were working at the top of the old cemetery on some Commonwealth War Graves I noticed that your 2 family graves have recently been tended ie grass cut plus an added hydrangea in a pot …
      We were wondering as you don’t live locally if you would like us to plant the hydrangea on the grave plus water it until it’s established?
      Also as the nearby Hook family CWG has been weeded and has a new pot plant we wondered if your family and the Hooks are connected?
      Have you checked out our other website Friends of Teignmouth Cemetery where you can read all about our FOTC Tues & Sat work sessions?
      regards Jean


  2. Jackie – there is hopefully less ivy covering gravestones now since your last visit after recent work by FOTC volunteers and the Dawlish Garden Trust team who did a lot of ivy clearance work earlier in the year for us…

    There are still new burials taking place in the cemetery I found a re opened grave recently and believe the burial will take place later this week …

    It would be interesting to know where your family graves are to be found in the cemetery and a little of your family history if possible please?

    More info re FOTC twice weekly work sessions on our new facebook site


    • I was last in Teignmouth around 24th July and on my return contacted Mark Payne with pictures of the encroaching ivy, having previously visited and had conversations with Kat Smith. He explained that the maintenance on the old cemetery had been substantially cut back….no pun intended!!
      As I said to him, geographically I am not in a position to offer any physical help, but would be very happy to contribute to any funding that is in place.
      My grandmother, grandfather, mother and her two sisters are in the old cemetery. My grandfather, Frederick William James, purchased a triple and a double grave, when my aunt was killed in the war. She was a nurse in the hospital in Teignmouth when it was bombed, in ’41
      At the time he was mayor of Teignmouth and it was he that my father, who was in the army, had to approach to get permission to organise a dance. Grandfather returned home to let my mother know he had found her husband, and the rest, as they say, is history.
      My surviving aunt Jeannette Cosserat remained a Teignmouth resident until she moved into a nursing home in Dawlish, around 2000, until her death.
      The family graves are SS19..triple..and SS39..double.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for the information about your family …

        I believe I have already seen these 2 graves ie quite recently when walking around the path to the top of the cemetery..

        I will check again early tomorrow before the other volunteers arrive for our work session…

        We have had local residents and family members visiting graves who are unable to help us with tidying graves …some of them have become FOTC members or made a donation to FOTC more info re this can be found at top of his page…


      • Jackie – I went up to the top of the cemetery this morning and found the 2 graves (James & Beal) gave them both a quick cut with shears …will return to remove grass & ivy etc from edges of the James grave asap…


  3. The recent flora and fauna survey covered most of the old cemetery grounds-there are many pathways and apparently 12 acres -in almost 2 hours we found an amazingly rich diversity of wildflowers & insect life etc

    John & Audrey are both very knowledgeable about recognising native UK wildflowers, insects, grasses etc

    Since the survey I have spotted 2 more wildflowers ie fleabane and yellow toadflax in flower


    • Hi Jean, I have just been down for a few days and tidied up the graves, and placed the hydrangea. I do not have any contacts in the area, so it is just me. Am happy just to leave it in the pot, unless you feel like planting it…..there should be primroses on the grave in the spring, too.
      I am really concerned how the ivy has taken over that area of the cemetery and fear that the graves will be totally choked soon.
      Many thanks


      • Firstly Jackie I do apologise as I really did mean to keep your family graves tidy however we’ve been so busy over last 15 months clearing the 100+ graves below the main tree avenue ie we’ve cleared them of dense brambles and ivy before planting up with lavenders,pinks and dianthus ….

        Now we’re working throughout the cemetery strimming grass plus removing ivy on and around
        the Commonwealth War Graves so
        I will endeavour to keep the grass trimmed and the encroaching ivy clear of your family graves …

        Happy to plant the lovely hydrangea …taking care of course not to disturb the wild primroses which always look lovely ….thankfully there’s a nearby water tap so watering the hydrangea not a problem.


      • That’s really very kind of you. I do find the encroaching ivy quite depressing so thank you so much for the occasional yank of menacing roots!!

        Liked by 1 person

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