Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Tour of Rosary Cemetery with NWT volunteers

 Angela Collins, Volunteer Coordinator

Photo by Elizabeth Dack
This weekend I was pleased to meet some of our education and event volunteers who had joined together with staff to learn more about what is happening in the Trust in 2016. This is a lovely opportunity for volunteers to meet each other, and staff to offer their thanks for their support. They have all helped, or will be helping at numerous family and school events on our reserves and at public events such as the Norfolk Show and Wild about Norfolk. We would not be able to reach so many people without their enthusiastic support. 

Our meeting started in Bewick House where Annabel Hill, our Senior Education Officer, discussed some of the activities coming up as part of our 90th birthday celebrations this year. Including the exciting two weeks that Norfolk Wildlife Trust will be celebrating in the centre of Norwich, with wonderful displays and activities in the Forum form Saturday 21 May to Sunday 5 June. 

Gemma Walker then talked about her exciting new Norfolk County Wildlife Action project, which is running for two years and will get lots of new people out surveying their local wildlife areas. This is a big project to work with local communities on 100 churchyards and County Wildlife Sites across Norfolk. Encouraging communities to visit, enjoy and learn about the wildlife on their local sites, with more people getting involved in wildlife surveying. 

Winter flowering heliotrope, photo by Elizabeth Dack
We then headed to nearby Rosary Cemetery. This is an oasis of peace and calm so close to the city centre, that most people are completely unaware of. The lower half of the cemetery is a County Wildlife Site, and an important refuge and stepping stone for local wildlife. Roger Jones, who is a valuable NWT volunteer and part of the local community team that help looks after the cemetery, kindly, gave us all a guided tour. The cemetery is highly regarded for its spring flowering plants, and even though the weather was grey and wet, perhaps not the best day for a visit, there was a still a remarkable number of plants on show. Primroses and crocus were abundant, and we could see where meadow saxifrage and wood sorrel were beginning to emerge. There was also lots of winter flowering heliotrope, Roger advised that over recent years this plant was becoming quite invasive in the cemetery.  Roger was able to point out a lot of local memorial stones and mausoleums for famous Norwich residents, and discuss how the site is managed. There is some frustration with contractors using brushcutters, and it was disheartening to see where a large swathe of bulbs had been swiped with all their heads cut off. This is something which is being looked into with the help of NWT. It was however great to see standing dead wood, with evidence that this was being visited by woodpeckers. We also heard goldcrest and nuthatch, and saw barren strawberry, wood sedge & celandine.

Jelly Fungus by Elizabeth Dack
We were surprised to see what looked like frog’s spawn lying in the middle of the path, we are still awaiting a formal identification but it is in fact a type of jelly fungus. 

Rosary Cemetery is well worth a visit, particularly in the spring.  Many thanks to Roger for such an interesting tour, and many many thanks to all the volunteers who support our work in so many ways. 
If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved in County Wildlife Action please contact me on angelac@norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth Dack8 March 2016 at 22:28

    A lovely place to visit and although the weather was wet it didn't dampen our spirits. So much to see there, It was so peaceful you could hear the song of the little Goldcrest and forget you are in the middle of the city.