Nature News

Heene Cemetery wins Green Flag Award

Heene Cemetery is one of more than 2,000 sites across the country to collect the Green Flag Award for 2020. The Friends of Heene Cemetery are delighted to receive this prestigious award and to be recognized for their dedicated and conscientious efforts to achieve a balance of nature conservation and heritage respect in this hidden haven at the centre of an urban area.

Commenting on the Heene Cemetery success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise, or simply escape for a short time.”

“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, Heene Cemetery has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

In giving this award to the Friends of Heene Cemetery, the judges added the following:

“This is a very well-run site, with enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers. Regular walks and talks are led by local experts on a wide range of subjects including butterflies, history and wildlife. This is a very positive way to encourage the research and understanding of this site.”

Although we say it ourselves, this is quite an achievement. The Friends of Heene Cemetery have been endeavouring to keep this wonderful green space in good condition whilst following the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

Volunteers, initially in pairs, visited the Cemetery on various occasions throughout the very hot and dry weather to check the water and feeding stations for the wide variety of creatures we encourage to live there. When restrictions were lifted and 30 people were allowed to gather in outside spaces, we organised a couple of ticket-only public events that were very successful. We then became restricted to 6 people outdoors at any one time and have since been working in a rota of 6 on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons.

The criteria for Green Flag Awards are:

  1. A Welcoming Place
  2. Healthy, Safe and Secure
  3. Well-maintained and Clean
  4. Environmental Management
  5. Biodiversity Landscape & Heritage
  6. Community Involvement
  7. Management/Achievements

We can’t wait to be able to open our gates again so that this glorious place can once again be enjoyed more widely.