Creepy crawlies among gravestones will be under the microscope this month during a race against the clock in one of the UK’s most important cemeteries.
London’s Brompton Cemetery will play host to The Royal Parks’ first ever BioBlitz to give members of the public a chance to mingle with scientists to uncover some of the weird and wonderful wildlife living there.
For 24 hours from 5pm on May 27, the free event invites adults and children to join forces in a fun-filled bank holiday weekend helping to discover as many species of plants, animals and fungi as possible.
Joining the weekend will be experts from some of the country’s most important nature and wildlife organisations including the Natural History Museum (NHM), the London Wildlife Trust (LWT), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Field Studies Council (FSC) and the Royal Parks Foundation (RPF) – the charity for the Royal Parks. There will also be a range of fun-packed stalls offering the opportunity to learn more about nature as well as take part in activities.
Among the activities throughout the 24-hour BioBlitz, which is the first time a major count of species has taken place in Brompton Cemetery, will be tree and nature walks, earthworm hunting, bee and wasp counting and lichen recording.
Toni Assirati, who leads The Royal Parks’ education programme, said: “This is The Royal Parks’ first BioBlitz and we invite everyone to come down and make it a huge success.
“This is a great opportunity for scientists, naturalists and members of the public to join forces in a fun way to create a snapshot of wildlife in the cemetery.
“This is a hugely important event for the National Lottery-funded cemetery project as it will provide us with invaluable information about the range and number of species living there so we can maintain and improve existing habitats to conserve the wildlife.”
The BioBlitz is one of several projects linked to the £6.2million National Lottery-funded Brompton Cemetery conservation scheme which will see the historic site undergo a major facelift to recreate the vision that architect Benjamin Baud and gardener John Claudius Loudon originally designed in 1840.
The project will help transform this superb but relatively little known Victorian cemetery into a vital 21st century community asset that delights visitors and inspires other cemetery managers.
Funding for the project has come from BIG Lottery and Heritage Lottery Funds as well as from The Royal Parks and its charity the Royal Parks Foundation. While the Foundation has raised more than half of its £500,000 target, more generous support is needed.
The Royal Parks Foundation continues to invite the local community, visitors, friends, companies and trusts to make their mark by supporting this much needed conservation project. To support or donate, visit www.SupportTheRoyalParks.org/BromptonCemetery
As well as the free, family activities during the usual cemetery opening times, there are also two other free events taking place which need to be booked in advance; the first is at 8.30pm on Friday, May 27, when the London Bat Group will take a group on a night time bat walk, and the other is at 6am on Saturday, May 28 when you will have a chance to watch small mammals being released into the cemetery. Spaces are limited so please book a place by emailing bromptonBioBlitz@gmail.com.
More details about the BioBlitz event can be found on The Royal Parks website.
Bioblitz Timetable – no booking required for the following events
(provisional details/times, subject to change)
Friday, May 27
5pm – Tree walk
5.30pm – Family nature walk
6pm – Counting nature session
6.30pm – Family nature walk
7pm – Tree walk
7.30pm – Family nature walk
Saturday, May 28
9.30am – Counting nature session
10.00am – Tree walk
10.30am – Mammal tracking walk
11am – Counting nature session
11.30am – How to be a moth recorder
12pm – Tree Walk
12.30pm – Counting nature session
1pm – Bees and wasps recording session
1.30pm – Earthworm hunt
2pm – Tree Walk
2pm – Counting nature session
2.30pm – Tree walk
3pm – Family nature walks
3.30pm – Lichen tour recording session
4.30pm – Family nature walk