Southwark Council opens award winning new burial space

17 June 2022

Southwark Council transformed a fenced off area in Camberwell Old Cemetery, into a new space that is rich with wildlife and nature. Today it welcomes those who will come to remember friends, partners and relatives as well as the local community into this award winning new landscape.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Southwark Council marked the graves of people who died in the World Wars, in this area. Ahead of Armed Forces Day (25 June), the Mayor of Southwark, Sunil Chopra, led a small ceremony to rededicate these graves and laid the first wreath in their honour. Andy Murray and Mo Russell attended from The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. As did John and Paula Neale and Sgt Mark Stevens, from the Royal British Legion. The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries and Nunhead Cemetery were also present.

The burial areas have special lawn turf that is seeded with wildflowers and only cut twice a year, this encourages wildlife to flourish. To complement existing, mature trees, 66 new trees were planted, including oak, cherry, willow and sorbus. The council supports more local wildlife with native shrubs, fruit trees and flowers: it also introduced bird and bat boxes, and a log pile for reptiles, mammals and insects.

The project caught the eye of the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI). They recognised the work of council contractor, Blakedown Landscapes, with an award in 2021. BALI also acknowledged the design by Harrison Design Development and the careful selection of plant species designed to enhance nature conservation, transforming the area into a valuable landscape for local people.

Cllr Catherine Rose, Cabinet Member for Parks, Streets and Clean Air: “We are grateful to all volunteers, staff and many organisations who worked with us on this historic landscape. I am proud of the levels of thought, care, excellent design and construction work, which created this remarkable new glade. I know it will be enjoyed as a place of peace and sanctuary by many people and much wildlife, over coming years and future generations.”

Page last updated: 17 June 2022