Day 5: London’s Leafy Cemeteries Offer Peace And Quiet

Saturday. The time of week where my partner and I usually go on a long walk to detach our brains from work. But today we felt slightly conflicted.

While the government hasn’t yet officially put a ban on parks, it stands to reason that with all other community outlets closing (and quite rightly) in a city with London’s population, the only place people can now go is the park.

This meant that while Hugh and I strode out quickly to get some exercise and actively stepped off pathways to keep two meters from others, it was bloody difficult to feel that we were playing it ‘by the book’.  Add to this the fact that some people were still intent on meeting in groups, queueing for takeaway coffees in busy lines and staying close to the local high streets and all of a sudden the guilt crept in. So we dived quickly out of the park towards Brockley Cemetery.

London’s cemeteries accidentally became today’s theme.

I’ve posted before about the abundance of green space in this capital city. We’re incredibly lucky that even living in zone two, we normally have multiple walks through woods, along rivers and over fields to chose from. When these get busy, the best places to roam are London’s large, leafy cemeteries.

Abney Park Cemetery in north London in the spring of 2015

Some might find it odd that I like walking amid the old tombstones but personally I’ve always found a wonderful sense of calm in graveyards.

Brockley’s is wonderful. There are several paths to choose from as you walk through the main gates. We opted for a small slither to the left that skirted the overgrown edges. Spring has finally arrived here in the UK and the birds were raucous. Flitting in front of us and angrily channeling their mating calls across the tree tops. We squinted upwards at the tall pines that line one of the paths – home to native woodpeckers.

For an entire thirty minutes we saw only one other person as we criss-crossed towards the tiny church at the bottom corner of this quiet patch. A woman walking her dog in a business-like style, presumably before heading straight home. Half an hour might not seem long at all but in London on a sunny weekend, it’s quite something.

I never thought a day would come where it would matter. Where we would have to be so cautious. 

I’m not sure how long it will be before even these green networks are out of bounds. I read tonight that the National Trust, after deleting carpark fees earlier this week, has now decided to shut its parks completely because everyone (understandably) had the same idea.

Even before the government issues its next instruction, we might have to make the tough decision to watch the rest of spring from our lovely little balcony.

4 thoughts on “Day 5: London’s Leafy Cemeteries Offer Peace And Quiet

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