Gardeners play down untidy graveyard accusation

CLAIMS that part of Sidmouth’s cemetery is an “overgrown mess”, made by a woman who travelled 300 miles to visit her parents’ grave, have been played down by gardening experts.

June Holden, of Lancashire, wrote to the Herald to complain that the footpaths were so overgrown that she had to walk across graves to find her parents’ resting place.

She claimed the situation was ongoing and told the town: “Come on Sidmouth, I thought you were proud gardeners.”

A spokesman for East Devon District Council, which is responsible for the Temple Street cemetery, said they were unaware of any complaints but admitted grass-cutting rounds had been “slowed” by recent bad weather.

Sidmouth cemetery was mown two weeks ago and would be started again next week.

The visitor may have been “unfortunate in visiting just before a cut was due,” he added.

Sidmouth in Bloom chairman Lynette Talbot visited the site and said: “It’s not as bad as it’s made out. Some people would say it looks rather pretty.”

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There are tall wild flowers but the grass is not taller than four inches and all the graves are still visible, she added.

She said there were “merits” in encouraging grass to grow into “meadows” to encourage bio-diversity but the cemetery is not at that stage and there is clear evidence that parts had recently been mowed.

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