Former coronavirus mortuary becomes wildflower habitat

Former coronavirus mortuary becomes wildflower habitat

A wildflower meadow was sown on the site late last summer (City of London Corporation/PA)

A meadow of wildflowers has blossomed at the site of a former Covid-19 mortuary site which was removed a year ago.

The temporary mortuary, set up at the height of the pandemic, was erected on the southern tip of Epping Forest, which covers parts of London and Essex.

A fence was built around the site to allow cornflowers, yellow goat’s beard, German chamomile, cow vetch, meadow pea, corn marigold, common selfheal and oxeye daisies to grow over the last year.

The fence has now been taken down and from Thursday visitors can enjoy the flowers.

The temporary mortuary site at Wanstead Flats in east London was dismantled late last summer (Victoria Jones/PA)

The mortuary at Wanstead Flats opened last April and was one of six temporary sites set up across London to store the bodies of people who died from the virus before their commemoration and burial.

After it was dismantled late last summer, the City of London Corporation, which owns the land, began the process of returning it to nature and a wildflower meadow was sown on the site.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest & Commons Committee, said: “It’s beautiful and moving to see what has blossomed in this space one year on.

“It has been transformed from a mortuary and returned to the Forest as a grassland in even better condition, with more wildflowers than before.”

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