A Short, Wet Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Dear Readers, we have found that if we don’t get ourselves out for a walk, the rest of the day somehow never really comes into focus, so the fact that we were expecting relentless rain all day was just a reason for digging out the wet weather gear and heading to the cemetery. It’s become our place for contemplation since lockdown, and when it’s damp it’s even quieter than usual. Plus there’s something about the grey skies and the mizzle that makes the colours pop more. Look at these lovely oak leaves, for example. This is the first year that I’ve really appreciated the caramel tones of the dead foliage, interspersed with the odd citrussy yellow and green leaves.

Down in the woodland graveyard area, the swamp cypress are also showing their winter colours. This is fast becoming one of my favourite non-native trees – I love the delicacy of the foliage, and the way the leaves turn to russet in the autumn. The fruits look like little maces to me.

A much more recent addition to the area is this young ginkgo, with its bright yellow leaves. In years to come, this will look splendid with a backdrop of the fox-red swamp cypress. It already looks good with the blue-green of the conifers behind it.

One problem with my other regular walk around Coldfall Wood and Muswell Hill Playing Fields is the mud at this time of year. That’s the big ‘problem’ with clay soil – rich and nutritious it might be, but in the winter it turns quickly into a quagmire. Haringey Council have put in some paths and a sandy area at one entrance between the woods and the fields, but the problem is, what do you do? For one thing, councils have very little money to spend on public amenities following years of austerity, and for another thing it’s not necessarily great to have hard paving which can become slippery and a trip hazard, plus it isn’t good for wildlife either. I guess I’ll just have to invest in wellington boots.


Although it’s been wet (Saturday 3rd October was the wettest day in Britain since records began), it’s also been extremely mild, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to see some lush pockets of wildflowers. This white deadnettle was particularly toothsome – I love the shape of the flowers. By now it was not only raining but blowing a minor gale, so apologies for the blurring.

White deadnettle (Lamium album)

And here we have some Oxford Ragwort, one of those ‘weeds’ that spread along the railway tracks, and is now common all over England.

But sometimes the rain is too much even for us. I had tucked my camera into my anorak (yes, I am a proud anorak-wearer) and could barely see through the raindrops on my spectacles. If it’s not the lenses fogging up because of my face mask it’s the precipitation these days. The person who invents little windscreen wipers for glasses will make a million, mark my words.

I had time for a few shots of the big trees on the other side of the cemetery, though – what a splendid combination of colours they are! Autumn in the UK is a bit less flamboyant than in North America, but I think it still has a charm all of its own. See what you think.

5 thoughts on “A Short, Wet Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Anne

    Well done for getting out on a rainy and windy day! I am with you with the complication of both spectacles and having to wear a mask!

  2. Liz Norbury

    I go walking every day before breakfast, come rain, shine, wind or storm – it sets me up for the day ahead. Since we moved house in the summer, I’ve enjoyed exploring new places, as well as continuing to visit my old haunts (we’ve only moved four miles), and my favourite discovery is a wood. I don’t know much about it yet, but it’s an enchanting place to be in this most glorious of autumns. I’m looking forward to watching it change colour through the seasons in the coming year.


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