Rake Lane Cemetery, 2nd August 2020

It is a lovely cemetery, rich in maritime history. Properly called Wallasey Cemetery Rake Lane, it is the final resting place of the Captain of the Lusitania, several Mersey Pilots, a man lost in the Thetis submarine disaster, a New Brighton lighthouse keeper, the Wallasey Hermit and a Titanic survivor. Memorials to sea captains bearing carved anchors are everywhere.

The chapel is now leased to the Russian Orthodox church and is used by Russian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian people from all over Merseyside. It is looked after by an active Friends group

They keep it very well. I noticed that broken gravestones are treated with more respect than is usual in local cemeteries. Fallen angels or vases are propped carefully next to the rest of their monument. There seem to be no toppled ones with their faces down and unreadable, and insecure stones appear to have been supported with wooden posts and nylon strapping. It was also recently mowed. All that tidiness isn’t much good for wildlife, though, with no “weeds” daring to flourish.  Near the gate was the only patch they’d missed, with Bramble, St John’s Wort and Ragwort. The trees were unremarkable, and the only other flowers I saw were on a shrubby edge, the tiny pink blossom of the Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus. They turn into white squishy berries later in the year. It is a neophyte from the US, and was first planted in the UK in the 1710s. Since the 1860s, when it naturalised, it has grown in woods, scrub, hedges and on waste ground, almost anywhere.

The only birds were Magpies, Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeons, with one Herring Gull marching about like it was making an Admiral’s inspection!  After a cloudy start the sun came out and it became quite warm. The butterflies took to the wing, but only one very ragged Speckled Wood, one Meadow Brown and a Large White flying high up next to a Lime tree.

Speckled Wood

I also checked the adjoining Earlston Gardens, but it was just an expanse of grass, no place for a naturalist.

Public transport details: Bus 433 from Sir Thomas Street at 9.50, arriving Rake Lane / Mortuary Road at 10.10. Returned on the 432 from Seaview Road / Thirlmere Drive at 12.35, arriving Liverpool 12.55.

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