Cemetery given green flag award
On 18th July the BBC carried the news that Woodbury Park Cemetery has been given an award set up to honour the best green spaces in the UK. This is the Green Flag Award of the Civic Trust.
The trust described the cemetery, which contains more than 6,000 graves, as a green oasis located close to the bustling commercial centre of Tunbridge Wells. Working in close partnership with the recently formed Friends group, this cemetery is now a welcoming, sensitively managed and much-loved green space.
It describes how from its early days it was recognised as "a significant part of the town's landscape" and goes on to say "Visiting today, you will discover monuments commemorating several famous characters from Tunbridge Wells' history. In 1864, it was written, "this resting-place is beautifully laid out as a mortuary garden. Shrubs, trees, flowers, evergreens, moss-covered graves, and sculptured tombs, impart to it a pleasing aspect...."
In more recent years it was a lost landscape, set back behind the bus depot and received little attention until it was rediscovered by committed volunteers who went on to form the Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery in 2006. Now it is recognised as a significant, peaceful public green space, a haven for wildlife in a built up area and a valuable educational resource."
Visit by local MP
Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, is just one of the people who joined the Friends on the spot having made a tour of the cemetery. He said
"I was delighted to discover this hidden gem in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, brimming with architectural and natural delights. It is a very special place and I warmly congratulate the Friends for all they have done to bring it back to its current condition. I hope to offer every support for their exciting plans for its future"
Here he is seen by the memorial stone of the Rev Henry Austen, much loved brother of the incomparable Jane
A leaflet has been produced for every household bordering the cemetery about what to do if they spot vandalism going on or suspicious behaviour. click here to download our 'Woodbury Parkwatch' leaflet