Tuesday 15 March 2022

Ratho Cemetery and Kirkyard

 I'm continuing to survey the wildlife in all the cemeteries managed by Edinburgh City Council. Sallie of a Full Time Life, recently commented on this blog "what a bit city Edinburgh is. So many cemeteries!". To be honest though, Edinburgh City Council area covers a much larger area than the city itself (though the city is growing and many areas that were recently fields are being built on or will be built on soon). Ratho, which I visited today is on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and is still a quiet village 

surrounded by fields (which hopefully won't be built on!). As you approach the village, you can already see the cemetery on the top of the hill (click on the photo for a bigger view, you can see the gravestones above the wall) 

This is a relatively modern cemetery, which is more or less surrounded by fields, above which skylarks were singing constantly throughout my visit. 

There are a few trees in this cemetery, including this cherry

whose bark is covered in a wealth of lichens.

Overhanging the perimeter wall of the cemetery is a beautiful pussy willow tree, whose catkins are just starting to burst

There are also several gravestones that feature images from the natural world, including these two birds 

 A few minutes down the road is the old kirkyard, the historical cemetery, attached to Ratho Parish Church

and there are plenty more lichens here, including this map lichen

I watched a queen white tailed bumble bee flying low around the trees in the kirkyard. There's a good thread on Twitter, here, explaining this behaviour (searching for a nest site).

It's certainly true to say that if somewhere as small as Ratho has two cemeteries, then Edinburgh does indeed have a lot of cemeteries (43 kirkyards and cemeteries managed by the council, plus at least one large private cemetery and at least one Roman Catholic cemetery).


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I'm still so in awe of all you do! Ratho Cemetery is lovely and certainly points out what a nature refuge cemeteries can be. I think next time we're back home in Eugene (Oregon) I might like to try to visit all the cemeteries there.

I'm thinking of home because the pussy willow has me missing Oregon. We got to see all the lovely early Spring flowers when we spent last Spring there instead of here in subtropical Florida where it is too hot for them.

Lowcarb team member said...

It looks as if you've had some reasonable weather, this was a very nice selection of photographs in your post.

All the best Jan

Jenn Jilks said...

Our bees are still under the snow!

A lovely trek. I enjoyed all the greens!

Caroline Gill said...

So wonderful to have Skylarks! And yes, Ratho looks a surprisingly rural village. How many 'Edinburgh' cemeteries have you visited to date, I wonder? Such a brilliant project.

Jeff said...

Are cemeteries being less used in the UK as more people chose cremation? That's the case in the US.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks Sallie! Hope you manage to visit all the cemeteries in Eugene!

Lowcarb - yes we've had some lovely weather recently!

Thanks Jenn

Hi Caroline, I've now visited all 43 of the council managed cemeteries in Edinburgh but will continue with extra visits to some of the cemeteries. Hoping to continue on into summer to get insect records.

Jeff - yes that's probably the case, though also some cemeteries have reached capacity and can only be used for further burials by people who havwe family plots