Churchyards are one of the last refuges for wildlife following loss of unimproved fields and grasslands to intensive farming practices. Our churchyard provides a significant area of biodiversity with over 30 plant species recorded and 10 varieties of tree. In addition we have seen many bees and several butterflies over the summer including Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Brimstone and Tortoiseshell.
A group of volunteers led by Chris Cooper (contact details here) carries out gardening tasks in the churchyard four times a year to keep paths and lawns tidy and also to manage the grounds for wildlife. Jobs include mowing, strimming, hedge cutting and removal of grass cuttings. All volunteers are very welcome.
Management for Wildlife
Patches are left uncut for some of the year to give wildflowers a chance to thrive, in line with the joint diocesan/Wildlife Trust guidelines Churchyards and their management for wildlife. There is a meadow area to the north west of the church which produces an attractive display of cowslips in the Spring. This area is less intensively mown to favour annual wildflowers which can then set seed for the following year. Cuttings are removed to prevent soil enrichment and the build-up of a thatch layer that can inhibit germination and growth of more delicate flower species. A bramble patch is managed to provide food and shelter to butterflies who benefit from the warmth of a south facing aspect.
We hope to continue sensitive management of the churchyard and monitor the benefits to wildlife. Our efforts will make a positive contribution to the St Andrew's Eco Church Project for the care of God’s earth.