It’s the season of Hallowe’en, when all things spooky are on folks’ minds. But in Stroud, there’s nothing ghoulish about hanging around the graveyard – in fact, it’s one the most agreeable places to spend time that you can imagine. Lydia la Strode is our guide to a haven of history, scenery and wildlife…
Situated on a slope at the top of the town between Bisley Road and Horns Road, our 13-acre local graveyard comprises two parts: the new lower cemetery, where burials continue, and the old, which is now a Local Nature Reserve and teems with wildlife ranging from glow-worms to woodpeckers. For anyone seeking fresh air, beautiful wooded valley views, peace and quiet and a bit of a nature ramble, it’s the perfect destination.
Founded in 1854 by the Stroud Burial Board, the old cemetery was divided into three sections: one for Church of England burials, one for ‘non-conformists’ such as Methodists and Baptists, and one for the paupers of the parish, who in life resided in the nearby Union Workhouse. If you enjoy social history, the weathered graves (including causualties of both world wars) are fascinating, and all the more romantic for their overgrown setting.
If flora and fauna are more your thing, look out for grasshoppers, adders, lizards and a variety of birds and butterflies, plus masses of rare lichens and wildflowers. At dusk, you may see badgers, bats and glow-worms. And if you spot any spectres, ghouls or ghosts, do please let us know!