An important strand in the work of the ‘Friends’ group is ensuring that we embrace the concept of biodiversity. Part of this approach involves ensuring that we maintain a suitable environment for butterflies to thrive; obviously, we are not experts at this type of thing but, as the saying goes, we know someone who is!!! 

Ray gets ‘the knowledge’ from Lee and Dave.

Step forward Dave Stebbings from the Butterfly Conservation Trust… Dave, along with Lee Rankin (the City Council’s Community Wildlife Officer) gave the Friends group an in-depth talk on the butterflies native to Jesmond Old Cemetery and then took us on a ‘safari’ to see what we could find. Additionally, they advised us on how to enhance the environment in order to encourage more butterflies to ‘visit’; our ‘Dirty Weekend’ work certainly helped in this area, particularly with regard to our new nectar producing plants. 

Burny spots the Meadow Brown about to land on Ray.

The need to remove various self seeded saplings was also identified as a priority, particularly those adjacent to the already established buddleia plants. This work was duly carried out, with a little bit of help from the friendly greenkeeper from the nearby Bowling Club!!

In terms of our very own ‘Cemetery’ population, the Holly Blue is particularly important. It is easily identified in early Spring, as it emerges well before other butterflies. It tends to fly high around bushes and trees, particularly around Holly (in Spring) and Ivy (in late Summer) – hence its presence in Jesmond Old Cemetery, where there is an abundance of both.

Also spotted within Jesmond Old Cemetery are the Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma and the Meadow Brown.