High grass does not equate to high biodiversity

The Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries project was set up, largely because it was felt that the Management Plan for Sidmouth Cemetery isn’t working – as commented late last year, “it has been disastrous, whether you are looking for a wildlife haven or a tidy resting place where families can visit to remember past relatives.”

A problem is that, often, the promise of increasing biodiversity in the parish churchyard and in the town cemetery ends up being an excuse for neglect – and so ‘eco policies’ earn a bad name.

This has happened in the county next door, as reported in today’s Mail, as grieving families feel unable to visit their loved ones graves after Dorset council’s eco policy left grass growing up to 4ft in some places, burying headstones. 

Not a good look:

Grieving families have been unable to visit loved ones’ graves after Dorset council’s eco policy has left grass growing up to 4ft in places. Grass has grown so high in some cemeteries in Poole, Dorset, that it has covered headstones. Complaints have been made about the unkempt state of St Michael’s church, Branksome Cemetery and Poole Cemetery. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, which maintains some of the graveyards, declared a climate emergency in 2019 and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. As part of the eco drive, they signed up to the green initiative of ‘Let It Grow’, which has led grass in public areas being cut less often to encourage biodiversity and habitats for pollinators.

High grass does not equate to high biodiversity:

Kay Leach travelled 70 miles from Bristol to visit her parents and grandparents’ graves at St Michael’s but was unable to cut through the grass to reach them. Pictured: St Michael’s Church in Hamworthy, Poole

Meanwhile at the Sidmouth Cemetery, the plan for this year does mean better management is happening – as a few hours of volunteering can make quite a difference…