Future plans for a town’s cemetery are revealed
- Credit: Nick Thompson
Thetford Cemetery, in London Road, will soon be teeming with wildlife as plans to create natural habitats within the grounds will include wild flower meadows, bird and bat boxes, log piles for hedgehogs and bird baths and feeders in a move that will also save the council money.
It hopes to encourage creatures of all shapes and sizes to make the cemetery their home, as well as place of beauty for those who have lost loved ones.
Nick Thompson, cemetery officer said: "Wildlife is an important part of life. Cemeteries are not just for burying love ones it a place for life and beauty but people don't recognise or realise what's there."
"Bereavement is a funny thing and people don't understand until they go through it, nature, flowers and beautiful things can help with that process."
Thetford is home to a range of wildlife including, Muntjac deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, different species of bird, butterflies, moths, bats and wild flowers.
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Denis Crawford, town councillor and deputy chairman of the cemetery committee, said: "We are a very green minded council as a whole but we will also save some money from being practical.
"If we are not mowing it we are increasing our wildlife and diversity and we are also saving more money because cemeteries do cost the council more money to keep."
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Private contractors are paid by the council to maintain the site and cut the grass which will be decreased to around three times a year rather than twice a month.
Any money saved will be re-invested back into the cemetery and the council say they will still maintain the paths and make sure the site looks tidy.
Mr Thompson added: "It's educational to see the wild life and observe the circle of life, beginning to end and to realise that life carries on.
"Yes it's a sad place but it can also be a place of beauty that gives people hope."
The council also plan to build a wildlife pond and memorial garden as a place for visitors to sit and reflect in a peaceful environment.
Youngsters were able to get involved by making bat and bird boxes at an event celebrating the town's natural environment.
Wild About Thetford was hosted at Kings House Garden, which brought together environmental groups from within the community, including Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Friends of Thetford Forest and Natural England.
Visitors had the chance to talk to experts about local plants, animals and their habitats, while children enjoyed fire making, mini beast hunts and the chance to make bird and bat boxes for the town's cemetery.
Mark Webster, Thetford Town Councillor and countryside and planning officer who organised the event, said: "This event was to give the people of Thetford a chance to find out ways to enjoy wildlife in their local area, at the minute we are looking particularly at our new cemetery wildlife habitat improvement programme.
"It's been really great to give children the chance to have a go at various activities as well."