Jan 19, 2010

CWGC climate change trials

Back in early December I spent a long day on a research jaunt to Ypres with friends and colleagues Peter Barton and Nigel Steel. We had a number of stops planned but still had time to stop in at Railway Chateau Cemetery to witness first-hand the experimental work carried out there. This work, in the words of the CWGC meant the “cemetery has completed its transformation: geotextile and a dolomite limestone surface have been laid and borders planted.” What this means is that the grass has been removed and a part-gravel, part hardcore put in its place. I noticed that the surface has been rollered with no care at all and it was easy to see and feel underfoot the rise and fall of the ground where the aggregate has been pushed. The plants looked in a sorry state and the whole place has the air of desolation about it. The worst bit was that the surface is a compromise – it was neither pea shingle or hard standing. So, the surface moves under your feet and it is easy to kick divots out of it (as happened when Nigel nearly tripped over).

The CWGC visitors’ book was terrifyingly like reading the Daily Mail but, for once, I agreed with the sentiments written. They have made a beautiful cemetery look a right mess. One can only hope that they regard this purely as an experiment. CWGC info on the project is available here.


3 Responses to “CWGC climate change trials”

  1. Mark says:

    On visiting the cemetery in late March, I was appalled at its poor condition. Quite why the CWGC need to employ water conservation treatments in Flanders beats me. Egypt yes, Flanders no, as Harry Enfield might have said.

    It may be worth having another look later in the year when the plants are looking better – I’ll let you know.

  2. Mark says:

    In early May this cemetery was looking even worse than in March, with only one plant appearing to be thriving, the rest were dead. The cemetery register had just been cleared, and I wrote my comments on a new page. I got the impression that the Commission know they have lost this round in what is a deserving project, but which has been poorly executed here.

    It seems likely that the cemetery is going to be returned to turf, but possibly not until the autumn. I’ll keep checking it out.

  3. Mark says:

    Having visited again this weekend, it looks a little better, now that the planting has had time to establish, but judging by the comments in the visitors book, it is not a success!!

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