WFV, Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford 21 May, 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 21st May 2019, 5:13pm

blue tailed damsleflyA lovely sunny day greeted us as we met at Undercliffe Cemetery Lodge.  The site has a fascinating history having originally opened in 1854, not only for burials, but also with landscaping to provide formal parkland where people could spend recreational time.  By the early 1970s burials were becoming less common and the Bradford Cemetery Company went out of business in 1975.  The site suffered neglect reverting to a more natural state until Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council purchased it in 1984 and declared it a conservation area.  The Undercliffe Cemetery Charity now manage the site through a board of trustees.

We had been informed by the Registrar of the best areas to explore and so 11 of us headed for a wooded section near the Otley Road entrance.  Whilst the main section of the site is looked after by volunteers, the periphery is left in a more natural state and thus provided opportunity for exploration.

Over the course of the next 4 hours, Alice recorded over 60 plants and grasses in flower,  Trees afforded more interest, particularly a Swedish whitebeam in full bloom.  Bird count was low but we did enjoy excellent views of long-tailed tit families feeding from various trees.  Butterflies noted were speckled wood, green-veined white, small white, small toroiseshell and holly blue with a cinnabar moth also being seen.

This is a fascinating site also for the social history of Bradford that it contains and I am afraid at times our attention was diverted to the wealth of monuments it has in its midst.  It was, however, rather sad to note that Japanese knotweed is present rather extensively in certain areas but I understand it is intended that this will be dealt with in the near future.  A  worthwhile visit, our thanks going to Andrew, the Registrar, for his hospitality.

See the photos here. 

Sally Tetlow

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