Upper Pathway, Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve, Dover, Kent, UK 1

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Comments (1)

John Latter on October 5, 2009

The John Monger Obelisk (stele, or column) in the centre background of the photo effectively marks the centre of Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve itself because it stands at the crossing of the middle pathway and the central traverse pathway (see below for what all these 'pathways' mean). The obelisk is a memorial to Sergeant John Monger and a photo of it will be uploaded soon.

I must admit, I do love the play of light in this photo :)

This view was taken from the upper pathway looking eastwards and downhill in the direction of the River Dour valley.

In the caption to the only The Dead Tree photo to be uploaded so far, I mentioned how that photo was deceptive insofar as it didn't show how beautifully overgrown and crowded the western half of Cowgate Cemetery is. Well, this photo does :)

Volunteers do maintain the cemetery, but the fortuitous discovery of a particular species of dormouse (see below) means they now do so with a light hand: the major pathways are kept clear, but natural life is allowed a far freer expression than would otherwise be the case.

There is something about man-made environments in the process of being reclaimed by nature that I find intensely interesting although Cowgate Cemetery, strictly speaking, is only being kept in a sort of stasis, or equilibrium. I'm grateful for the reprieve, anyway!

Five images of the Victorian Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve were uploaded in 2007.This latest batch were all taken on Friday, 18th of September, or Monday, 21st of September, 2009 (see 'Extra Information' under Photo Details in the right-hand column for camera details).

Click on the Cowgate tag to see more photos (and/or watch the YouTube video linked to below).

Standard Info

The Victorian Cowgate Cemetery is an approximate rectangle whose maximum dimensions are 150 x 70 yards. It slopes uphill from east to west with the western boundary wall (the longest) set into the lower slopes of the Western Heights.

There are three long pathways running north to south: western, middle, and eastern. To reflect the fact the cemetery is on a slope, these will be correspondingly referred to as the upper, the middle, and lower.

From east to west there are the five shorter pathways: northern boundary, northern traverse, central traverse, southern traverse, and an irregular southern boundary pathway. For simplicity (although it might not seem so!), most positional references references will be given in terms of the three traversing pathways.

In other words, the burial areas of the cemetery are set out in a 4 v 2 grid pattern with a row of family vaults running along the upper boundary wall.

Abridged extracts from the plaque just inside the main (north) entrance:

Dover's Cowgate Cemetery is named after the medieval gate which allowed townspeople to graze their animals on the lower slopes of the Western Heights.

The land, over two acres in extent, was donated by William Mowll and consecrated in 1835 by the Archbishop of Canterbury (William Howley) as an extension to the Parish churchyard (St Mary`s).

The layout of the cemetery is attributed to Stephen Geary, the architect who designed London's Highgate Cemetery.

In 1990 the Wildlife Conservation Community Program (WCCP) discovered a small population of the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) living in the cemetery. The Garden Dormouse is not 'officially' recorded as living in Britain.

Click to see a YouTube Video of Dover`s Victorian Cowgate Cemetery (part of which shows the exterior of the 'empty coffin' vault).

For more information see The Dover Society - Cowgate Cemetery Project and Cowgate Cemetery Volunteers.

John Latter / Jorolat

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on September 28, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/09/21 11:48:35
    • Exposure: 0.017s (1/60)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/5.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash