Getting the balance right at Smallcombe

As part of Smallcombe Garden Cemetery Conservation and Heritage Project, tree maintenance works will take place from May 26th for around five days.

Smallcombe Cemetery, Bath c.1880s - 1890s. © Bath in Time - Private Collection

Smallcombe Cemetery, Bath c.1880s – 1890s.
© Bath in Time – Private Collection. Click on image for more information.

Bath & North East Somerset Council will be cutting down to ground level some large laurels on the boundaries of Smallcombe and St Mary’s cemeteries to allow repairs to walls to take place and to reduce their dominance in the cemetery. It’s also hoped this will encourage species diversity.

“This type of work is usually carried out in the winter when the laurels would be dormant and also to avoid the bird nesting season,” said Denise Hart, tree officer with Bath & North East Somerset Council.

“However, because of the timings of the restoration project we need to do this work now. The laurels will be inspected for nesting birds before any work is carried out for and if any are found, we won’t go ahead in those areas. Laurels are not a desirable plant in the cemetery as they compete with other species that are more beneficial for wildlife.”

The Smallcombe Garden Cemetery Conservation and Heritage Project has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to support a two-year conservation project to ensure that a hidden social, historical and ecological gem doesn’t become lost to neglect and decay.

The project aims to restore walls, memorials and paths to a safe state; to improve access, also to allow the site discreetly to tell the story of Victorian and Edwardian Bath, a less well-known stage of the city’s development towards World Heritage status.

Smallcombe is a beautiful and largely forgotten valley cemetery with great wildlife diversity, within a 15 minute walk of the city centre and next to the National Trust Skyline Walk, so loved by locals and visitors alike.