Diary: Tree Planting Wednesday 25 October 2023

Astrid, Alan and Rita met with two of the Somerset Councils tree team at the cemetery early this morning for tree planting. The workers unloaded their lorry of 5 trees, irrigation pipes, stakes, tree straps, wheelbarrows and spades while the Friends watched on (well, Alan did assist in unloading the trees over the wall).

Tree Planting

Four of the trees were spaced around the top end of the cemetery by the Jam Factory Lane, the other an Ornamental Cherry, went further along the wall to replace a tree that had been planted 8 years ago and had sadly died.

Tree Planting

Bridgwater Town Mayor Mick Lerry and Mayoress Cllr Liz Marsh arrived at 10.30 for the tree planting ceremony. Mick thanked the Somerset Council for all the help and assistance they give to the Friends, and thanked the Friends for all their work. Rita responded and thanked the Town Council for their generous gift of five magnificent trees which will make a marked difference to the area.

Tree Planting

Photos were taken and the Mayor thoroughly enjoyed filling the earth back around the Ornamental Pear tree that he assisted in planting. The Three other trees that were planted were 'Sunburst' A Yellow Honey Locust, 'Asplenilfolia' Fern Leaf Beech and 'Cardinal Royal' Rowan.

Tree Planting

The tree lads worked hard in digging out the earth and planting the trees for us so many thanks to them, let it rain at night so we don't have to walk the whole length of the cemetery to get water from the tap!

Tree Planting

Many thanks to the Town Council for their generosity.

The Tree Planting Press Release

On 25 October 2023 the Mayor of Bridgwater, Cllr Mick Lerry, will help plant a set of five trees in the Wembdon Road Cemetery. The trees have been funded by Bridgwater Town Council to support the efforts of the Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery, who are working to preserve and restore the old burial ground.

The five trees to be planted are called ‘Sunburst’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, ‘Chanticleer’, ‘Aspleniifolia’ and ‘Cardinal Royal’. These were all selected after a long deliberation as beneficial to the wildlife, while also be straightforward to maintain. They have been chosen for areas in the disused burial ground where old trees have died off due to disease. One major area where most will be planted was until recently a bramble-covered scrub which is causing damage to nearby memorials. The new trees will provide a canopy to suppress weeds, but also provide a green backdrop for the memorials, making the cemetery more pleasant for visitors. Roy Cheek, a noted horticultural expert who lives in the district, kindly helped the Friends survey the existing tree coverage in the cemetery, identifying all the existing tree species, which was essential in determining where to plant, but also helped decide on what to plant.

The cemetery was opened in 1851, was full by about 1950 and closed around 1985. There are 14,047 recorded burials, and some of the memorials are of national importance: the Cook Memorial for example is listed Grade II as it is of such an ambitious design.  

Until last year the cemetery was owned by Sedgemoor District Council, and has now passed to Somerset Council. The Friends’ volunteers have been working for weeks to clear the ground of brambles and roots, while Green Surroundings Team of Somerset, led by Duncan Lane, came into remove the dead trees and helped out with planting. With the Town Council funding the new trees, this is a real team effort. 

Miles Kerr-Peterson, chairman of the Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery said: ‘with these new trees, the cemetery becomes a nicer and greener place for the community to visit, but also more appropriate for the memory of the dead, and the thousands of Bridgwater folk laid to rest here. The volunteers have been working hard for over a decade now to transform this once neglected spot, and we’re keen to keep improving it for everyone’.

A weekly diary of the Friends Volunteers’ work can be found on their website, or by following their Facebook page.

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