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Living Churchyard

We would love to hear from you.  If you would like to give us feedback about our plans or would like to volunteer with one of our churchyard maintenance groups, please email us

How do we balance, history, respect and ecology?

The Churchyard is a well used community resource - a secure place for enjoying nature and taking time to reflect. The Covid Lockdown made us realise how important this space was to people who otherwise are not linked to the church - we received much feedback about how it created a sense of stability in otherwise uncertain times.

Our aim is to maintain, protect and develop the natural habitat of our Churchyard, whilst ensuring access to each memorial headstone.
 

The Churchyard is an open, accessible, biodiverse green space which offers refuge, peace and reflection; we need to maintain it.

A small group of volunteers do regular mowing and strimming, but over the last decade or so some areas of the Churchyard have not been managed, allowing saplings to destroy some monuments, and other monuments to become completely inaccessible and covered by brambles. We wish to restore access whilst also maintaining an increasingly diverse habitat.

Developing a plan

We will use some excellent resources from Caring for God’s Acre, the conservation charity for Burial Grounds across the UK to develop a Churchyard management plan which will:

  1. Enable access to all memorials

  2. Increase the biodiversity of the Churchyard (range of wild plants, birds,  insects and creatures)

  3. Be managed sustainably within our resources.

Over 2024 we will be undertaking regular maintenance work with a view to implementing a different management plan in 2025.  As part of this we plan to undertake surveys of our existing biodiversity. Two areas of the Churchyard which will not be mown or cut during the year to enable us to see what grows there.

  • A management plan may identify areas of the Churchyard which are mown on a regular basis, some which are cut once or twice a year, and some areas which are only cut every other year.

  • We will look to put in place bee and bug hotels, hedgehog habitats and will investigate the possibility of bee hives.

  • We will see how we can increase the number of benches we have so the Churchyard is even more inviting for the local community (mindful of the potential for vandalism and misuse.)

  • We will try to provide better access to the Churchyard (including reviewing lighting and floodlighting – looks good, and makes us safer, but confuses a lot of wildlife) and respond differently to increasing flooding we have seen in the last few years.

Our archivist has found some similar work which was undertaken in the mid 1990’s. This set aside three management areas:

The bulk of the Churchyard (south of the church) which was regularly cut throughout the year.

Area 1 (shown with cross hatching), which would be cut in late September.

Area 2, (shown with single hatching), which would be cut in late June and then late September.

Some things have changed in the Churchyard since then (we have lost some trees and gained others), however it seems like a sound plan, but for some reason we didn’t we continue with it.

When we develop a new plan it will have to be sustainable.

 

Can we use the 1990’s plan as a basis for a new and sustainable Churchyard management plan?

We would love to hear from you.  If you would like to give us feedback about our plans or would like to volunteer with one of our churchyard maintenance groups, please email us

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