Cathays Cemetery: Life Amongst the Dead

Take time to visit the quieter residents of the student-filled heart of Cardiff. 

Cathays Cemetery, the third largest municipal cemetery in the UK, is also home to one of the city’s most valuable wildlife spaces.

The land is not neglected, but is mown once a year at the end of autumn to benefit songbirds

The cemetery was opened in 1859, as both a place of burial and a pleasant environment in which to walk. It certainly offers that, having held the Green Flag Award since 2009. A stroll through the long grass offers a moment of solitude in a busy city.

Two sub-species of Harlequin ladybird enjoy the sunshine

Walking through the Victorian chapel arches will lead you past pristine war graves and family monuments to the charmingly unkempt conservation area. Here you can see butterflies, birds and squirrels.

Ragwort, a common wildflower, is easily spotted amongst the grass

The personalities of the animal residents may be the strongest feature of the area. Magpies and blue jays are often heard before they are seen, while grey squirrels store their food for the winter in secretive silence.

A fungal resident of the cemetery. Many brighter species can be spotted on guided fungi walks.

Friends of Cathays Cemetery form the beating heart of the reserve. They work to promote the conservation and protection of the flora & fauna in the cemetery and work with Cardiff County Council to oversee the maintenance of the area.

One of the many bird boxes that can be seen while walking the old cemetery tree trail


A spider makes it’s home around a memorial flower

The lively FCC newsletter, ‘Not so Grave News’ will keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings at the cemetery, from bat walks to conservation status updates.