Southport Crematorium, 18th February 2024

This is a place we had never been to before, but we had recently heard it was a haunt of Red Squirrels, so worth checking. It isn’t a large cemetery, just the chapel building itself flanked on the south-west side by a little maze of cremation memorial stones, marked by bright flowers, some of them plastic.

But there were live plants in pots, such as Hellebores and Hyacinths, and lots of Snowdrops. Some of them had their feet in large puddles.

To the north, little paths lead to memorial glades and each has a central stone “ziggurat”, with more memorial name plates attached. Benches are nearby for quiet contemplation. The glades are mossy underfoot, not very grassy, as they are shaded when the trees are in leaf.

There are bird feeders dotted about all over the place, but most were empty. At the two stations where they had been refilled, there weren’t many birds. We saw a Blue Tit, a Great Tit, Coal Tits. Robins and Blackbirds. A couple of Wrens darted across a path, and there were Wood Pigeons high in the trees. There wasn’t even the sound of a Woodpecker. I think there must be too many people coming to leave flowers and tidy their plots.

There was one groggy Bumblebee which nearly hit me in the face. I waved it away and it disappeared before I could look at it properly. It was probably a queen Buff-tailed, which are known to emerge early on mild, sunny days. The best tree of the day was this one, absolutely covered in fat buds, probably a Magnolia. It will be magnificent when it blooms.

And what about the Red Squirrels? There was a road sign on the way in, warning drivers to go slowly in case they hit one.

We asked some of the other visitors about them. One said they were seen around the chapels quite a lot, but another said they hadn’t seen so many lately. We didn’t see any except a possible fleeting glimpse at a distance which might have been imagination. Someone had put fresh monkey nuts (peanuts in shells) on a tree stump but they seemed undisturbed as we left.

The Crematorium and its memorial gardens are only small, hardly enough for a day’s visit,  but it has good transport connections, the bus stops right outside, there is a covered area for lunch and  decent loos, so it’s definitely going on our list. North of the memorial area there are 20-odd acres of pathless woodland, which may be worth exploring when it is less soggy underfoot.

Public transport details: Train from Central at 10.17, arriving Ormskirk 10.47. Up the connecting path to the bus station and then the 375 bus at 11.01 towards Southport, arriving Carr Cross, outside Crematorium, at 11.25.  Returned on the 300 bus northbound (from the same stop as we arrived) at 1.30, getting off at Eastbank St, Southport at 1.40, then to the station for the southbound train at 1.57.

This entry was posted in Sunday Group. Bookmark the permalink.