Nunhead Cemetery is a heavily overgrown cemetery of 21 hectares (52 acres), part of which is maintained as a nature reserve. Now owned by the London Borough of Southwark, it was created as one of London’s “Magnificent Seven” Victorian garden cemeteries. It provides the nearest large woodland to central London and is an outstanding site for its location. It is designated as a Local Nature Reserve and a Grade II* listed landscape.
Address: Nunhead Cemetery, Linden Grove, London SE15 3LP (Map:; OS grid reference TQ354755)
History[edit | edit source]
Nunhead Cemetery was opened in 1840 by the London Cemetery Company and was originally known as All Saints' Cemetery.
The cemetery thrived into the early years of the 20th century, but burials dwindled after the First World War as costs rose and people cut back on funeral expenditure. The decline worsened after the Second World War and the cemetery was finally abandoned by its owner in 1969. By then, woodland had taken over and wildlife had moved in. Finally, in 1976, the London Borough of Southwark bought the cemetery for a token £1. In recent years the borough has worked with the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery to maintain the site, keeping its woodland look and making appropriate new plantings.
Habitat[edit | edit source]
The cemetery largely consists of ash-sycamore woodland, natural in structure and growing among vegetated gravestones, but many remnants of the 1840 Victorian plantings remain, including a formal avenue of towering lime trees. There are also areas of scrub and semi-improved neutral grassland.
Species[edit | edit source]
Birds A good list of breeding woodland birds includes at least 60 pairs of Wrens, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tawny Owl, Sparrowhawk and Jay. Invertebrates Sixteen species of butterfly have been recorded in the cemetery. They include the nationally scarce white-letter hairstreak butterfly.
Practicalities[edit | edit source]
Directions The main entrance to the cemetery is on Linden Grove. The nearest railway station, a few minutes’ walk away, is Nunhead (National Rail) with direct trains from London Victoria, London Blackfriars and St Pancras International. Bus route P12 (Surrey Keys to Brockley Rise) passes the eastern end of Linden Grove on Ivydale Road. Route 78 also passes nearby
Access The cemetery is open to the public daily (including weekends) from 08.30am to 4pm throughout the winter months and stays open slightly later in spring and summer (these time are subject to alteration).
Facilities Information needed about facilities in and around the site.
This information has been cobbled together from various internet sources by someone who has never visited the site but thinks that it deserves a page on the London Bird Club Wiki. If you are familiar with the site, please correct, expand and/or update this information. Please!