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Following a comprehensive survey of the flora in 1987 and extensive public consultation in the late 1980’s the City Council agreed in March 1990 to adopt a grounds maintenance specification aimed at preserving the character of the existing flora and fauna. Originally part of Southampton Common, the walls of the Cemetery have formed an enclosure that has helped preserve much of the wildlife diversity. The strimming regime allows the majority of flowers to mature and produce seed before being cut. The timing also provides short, medium and long grass to enable animals to move to their preferred conditions when an area is mown. To see the mowing regime click here.

FoSOC works in cooperation with the City Council's ecologist to reverse the historic invasion of scrub and saplings in some areas of the cemetery. The thrust of our current conservation work is to restore the areas surrounding the chapels to a more formal appearance whilst still maintaining their diversity of wild flowers.


Usually caused by tiny Gall Wasps. The females lays her eggs on a specific plant and when they hatch the plant's tissue swells up around the tiny grubs to form the gall.


Shieldbugs are very distinctive insects. 24 of the UK's 34 species are found in the Southampton area. Here are a few we have found in the cemetery.


Only 3 conifer species are native to the UK - Scots Pine, Yew and Juniper. The Cemetery, however, has many introduced conifers. Here we show many of their separate male and female 'flowers', which are often on separate trees.

Broad-leaved trees and Shrubs

The cemetery has a wide selection of native and introduced species. Many have amazing flowers as you will see in this gallery.

Birds & Mammals

There are numerous bird species using the cemetery as well as a surprising number of mammals. We are still researching this aspect of the cemetery's wildlife and hope to have an extensive gallery to show you soon.

Butterflies & Moths

Both belong to the insect order lepidoptera and unlike all other insects their four wings are covered with minute scales - which produce the distinctive colours and patterns of each individual species. Of the 59 UK 'resident' butterflies, 26 have been recorded in the Old Cemetery. Moths are mainly, but not exclusively, nocturnal. Many of the day-flying species are brightly coloured and often confused with butterflies.

Wild Flowers

Botanically the flowers shown here are “herbs”, that is, they do not produce woody stems, The Old Cemetery, mainly due to the strimming regime, has a very big selection on display.