Friday 8 October 2021

The Calton Cemeteries - Old and New

 I'm continuing my wildlife surveys in all the council owned cemeteries in Edinburgh. The latest cemeteries have been the Calton Cemeteries. 

Old Calton Cemetery is a historical cemetery that has been sadly neglected, many of the mausoleums are literally falling apart. Even more sad to see, is that the only wildlife that really seems to thrive here is the buddleia which is responsible for damaging the mausoleums. Buddleia is a lovely plant for butterflies and other insects, but once it starts growing over stonework it can cause chaos, as it is obviously doing in this cemetery. 

There are some lovely monuments here, including the monument to the philosopher David Hume (in the background of the photo below) and the monument to Scottish and American soldiers (in the foreground)

Also, if you look closely, you can find some very pretty ferns, including this common polypody

and if you're patient you may be able to see the wren come out from its hiding place behind this gravestone

I really hope that the council will invest in repairing the structures around the Old Calton Cemetery, as it is a popular site for people to visit (there was a constant flow of visitors while I was doing my survey yesterday). At the same time, I'll be suggesting in my survey report, that any restoration work, allows some gaps to remain in structures so that the wrens and other creatures can still make their home here! 

Today I visited New Calton Cemetery which is just further along the road from Old Calton. On the walk from the old to the new, I got lovely views over Canongate Cemetery, which I surveyed last week - see this post).

As you walk down the tree lined path to the cemetery, you get a lovely view of the monument to Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns

New Calton Cemetery offered people who chose to be buried here 'a Tomb with a View' and the views across to Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags are stunning

This cemetery feels as though it's much better looked after than Old Calton cemetery. There are plenty of invertebrates around, including several Harlequin ladybirds (an invasive species that seems to love Edinburgh's cemeteries)

There are also good numbers of spiders, which all seem to try to hide as soon as they become aware of your presence

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