A. Welcome to the Churchyard Trail at St Johns, Shirley.
This burial ground dates back to the 1830s when St Johns Church was established but the landscape that surrounds it has been a haven for wildlife much longer and is home to plants, animals and insects rarely seen in an urban environment. It provides a peaceful space for people to escape the noise of traffic and to be surrounded by birdsong.
You are standing beside the lychgate. This roofed structure at the entrance was donated by Lewis Lloyd in 1873 and forms the traditional meeting place and shelter for people arriving for burial services, to be met by the priest.
offers you a suggested route to follow as you explore the grounds, keeping away from the personal grave plots. The ground is uneven in some areas so walk carefully and there are several benches where you can pause and enjoy the surroundings.
As you take the path across the front of the church, on your right is the largest tree in the churchyard. A giant sequoia, 21 metres tall and dating back to 1849.
It is surrounded by several Irish Yew trees, and by the holly hedge at the front of the churchyard is a group of traditional herbs relating to Biblical times.
Move on to point ‘B’ on the plan