State of Nature Report


A Special Week Dedicated to Cherishing Churchyards can Help Local Wildlife.



The conservation charity Caring for God’s Acre (CfGA) is encouraging people to celebrate their local churchyard during the second week of June (June 8th to June 16th). Churchyards and Burial Grounds are special places at the heart of communities where wildlife and history come together. Veteran yew trees, old flower rich meadowland, tiny lichens and ferns, birds, butterflies and bees all find a home amongst the historic stonework, within the boundaries of the nations churchyards and burials grounds.

The recent State of Nature report shows that 60% of UK species have declined in number. People who are concerned about our native wildlife and want to help can get involved in the care of their local churchyard, which is likely to be akin to a mini nature reserve. Sometimes only small changes to the care of churchyard habitats such as the grassland, trees, shrubs and old stonework are needed to make a big difference to wildlife.  

What better time to start helping or celebrating wildlife than during Cherishing Churchyards Week? 

Andrea Gilpin, of CfGA said “Churchyards are wonderful places, often right on our doorsteps, and every year more and more groups are holding events and celebrating their churchyards as part of this dedicated week.” 

Cherishing Churchyards Week 2013 is being celebrated in counties across England and Wales with events ranging from a World War 1 Grave tour, a family day ‘Going Wild in the Churchyard’ to training in the art of scything and lime-mortared walling. This demonstrates the range of activities that are possible when celebrating Cherishing Churchyards Week.  

People wanting to do something unplanned could begin a list of plant and animals seen in the churchyard, perhaps adding to the information with photographs. This will be helpful for future conservation tasks or for spreading the word about the wildlife value of the local churchyard. 

Caring for God’s Acre has further ideas of ways to celebrate on their website, as well as helpful guidance and a registration form.


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