Shropshire Star

Funding hopes to breathe new life into Shrewsbury's 'hidden gem' burial ground

A Victorian burial ground in Shrewsbury has been awarded funding for restoration and to enhance biodiversity.

Longden Road Cemetery, Shrewsbury

Longden Road Cemetery, a historical Victorian burial ground in Shrewsbury, has been granted a generous three-year funding boost from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

This grant aims to support the restoration and interpretation of heritage while enhancing biodiversity within the cemetery.

Community engagement is also on the cards, with plans to open up the cemetery for a variety of heritage and nature-based activities.

Managed by Shropshire Council, Longden Road Cemetery is recognised as a Local Wildlife site and has receives ongoing support through practical conservation work provided by the Friends of Shrewsbury Cemeteries.

Sue Adams, Chairperson of the Friends of Shrewsbury Cemeteries, said they were "thrilled" with the three-year support.

As well as enabling the group to hire a part-time project manager for the initiative, the funding will allow the group to hold a range of activities.

She said: “Through monthly guided walks, talks, wildlife explorer days, and family activities, we aim to showcase the remarkable biodiversity in the cemetery.

"The project will provide new volunteering opportunities for local people to come and make a positive difference to wildlife, create innovative interpretation and education materials, collaborate on outreach projects with schools and community groups, and establish new habitats for existing and new species at the cemetery.

“This initiative will really make a difference to the biodiversity of the cemetery, providing an opportunity for local people to visit, enjoy, learn, and participate in one of the town’s premier free, accessible open green spaces.”

Councillor Chris Schofield, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for bereavement services, praised the initiative. He said: "This is a fantastic project, and we are very grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for its generous financial support.

"The historic Victorian section of the cemetery is something of a hidden gem, and this project will help showcase the heritage and biodiversity of the cemetery to a wider audience. Churchyards and historic cemeteries are often the last remnants of uncultivated and undeveloped land, and therefore a refuge for native and sometimes rare meadowland species.

“The project will help raise awareness and provide opportunities for volunteers to get involved with looking after the cemetery, to record and conserve its heritage and biodiversity for future generations to enjoy.”

The three-year project begins this month, and will feature free and accessible activities catering to all age groups. For more information follow the Friends of Shrewsbury Cemeteries on social media.

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