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BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture and Design

Lewis Turner

Cemetery Weaving Development

Lewis Turner / Landscape Architecture and Design

The village cemetery in Calverton has almost reached full capacity, they set aside land in 2000. They planted an avenue of trees with the intention of it becoming a processional avenue. We took on the project as part of our ‘Design and Community’ module. As a team of eight, we visited the site and spoke to the parish councillors and relevant stakeholders. We then separated ourselves into three groups to explore three different proposals.

The masterplan for a new cemetery for Calverton developed from the three proposals each with different interpretations of the site and brief. We worked collaboratively as a team of eight to weave together the designs and further developing ideas that the parish councillors were keen to incorporate.

// Image:  Cemetery Weaving Development

The design is inspired by Calverton’s colliery - its historic influence and innovative design. It weaves traditional and natural burial, a memorial garden and paths throughout new woodland, intimate spaces and wildflower meadows. Sense of place has driven the design which has been carefully considered to enhance views out into the surrounding landscape. As visitors transition through the cemetery the experience changes from formal burial to informal meadows and eventually into woodlands and onto Gravely Hollow.

// Image: Cemetery Weaving Masterplan

After the masterplan had been completed we split the scheme into elements to be resolved further and designed in detail. I took on the task of creating the tree strategy.

The process of designing the tree strategy began by looking at trees that are on and around site. The site is situated on the edge of the ancient Sherwood Forest famous for the legend of Robin Hood and the Major Oak, which is estimated to be around 1,000 years old. Adjacent to the new cemetery is a shelterbelt designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe as part of the former colliery.

My next step was to look at the masterplan and vision that we had produced and identify six key types of tree planting that would make up the cemetery, these were: Parkland trees, Shelter belt, Scattering woodland, Tree rings, Open woodland and Community orchard.

For each planting typology species were selected for their aesthetic qualities, benefit to wildlife and their resilience to climate change. As well as species the location of individual trees and woodland areas was considered and communicated in a detailed planting plan.

// Image:  Cemetery Weaving treeplan

Each type of planting has its own characteristics that create a memorable and distinctive place. The scattering woodland is an important feature of the design it links Calverton with the nearby nature reserve and, as a place to scatter ashes it becomes a living memorial to those who are remembered there.

To ensure the woodland established successfully faster growing tree species were included in the mix of woodland planting to establish canopy cover quickly. This will create favourable conditions for slower growing and longer lived species to successfully establish. Guidance on management and protection from deer and rabbits were included in a handout I produced to explain the entire strategy in detail.

// Image:  Cemetery Weaving Management

The tree strategy and schedule was delivered to the client in a presentation and as part of the project portfolio which was a compendium of the entire design process and each detail resolved individually.

Throughout this entire project collaborative working has been crucial even throughout the technical design resolution process we frequently met to help each other and coordinate our project portfolio and presentation. We are all looking forward to seeing the next stages of this project.