Caring For Churchyards

Put all England’s churchyards together and they would cover the area of a small National Park! We share some ideas on how to make the most of the green space on your church’s doorstep.

‘Spring in the Churchyard’

There is one kind of place where the three ‘Bs’ – blossoms, butterflies and birds - are almost guaranteed to occur together at this time of year: our churchyards.

Churchyards are significant multi-faceted places, providing tranquillity, biodiversity and history as well as burial spaces for generations of families. Although nearly half of them are already the subject of some kind of biodiversity project, others are either just kept tidy or end up being ignored for all kinds of reasons.

Spring is a time to plan ahead for your own church green-space. How about starting by getting to know your churchyard better? Begin with a bit of outdoor research into recording the presence of plant, animal and bug species and of historical information, and continue with an indoor computer/archive/Local Authority search into any special features and their protection or enhancement. This can form the basis of a management plan that looks at the inter-related interests of biodiversity, health and safety, appearance, visitors, historical research, etc.

Of course, this will require resources to explore and to implement but if you break the job up into defined, discrete tasks, you will be surprised how many folk of all kinds will be prepared to muck in.

The following web sites offer further ideas and guidance on the subject of churchyards:

www.churchcare.co.uk

www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk