July 24, 2015 11:33 pm Published by

On Friday 10th July a group of parishioners of St.James who are involved with the three conservation areas in the old and new churchyards met with Judith Evans from the Diocesan Environment team and Living Churchyard project and Laura Downton from The Wildlife Trust. We were exploring the possibilities and future plans for these spaces.

We discussed management of conservation areas including cutting and measures we could take to encourage these areas to be more species rich. The large plot in the new churchyard needs more specialist care with regards to a cutting regime. It was advised to cut once a year in July/August and removal of all the thatch.

Various suggestions were made about keeping the invasive grasses under control such as grazing by sheep or tethering horses there, however these measures would need electric fencing which would be beyond the finances of the PCC. There is the possibility of widening the gate into the grave yard so that a baler would be able to remove the grass once it had been cut. We will be collecting seeds from the nearby Cowslip Field which is has an amazing variety of wild flowers and scattering them here and hopefully this will encourage a larger incidence of flowering plants

Other items were discussed such as installing bird and bat boxes at various points in the churchyard and ultimately producing a short heritage trail in the churchyard. This could look at plants, gravestones and fossils in the church fabric. All these ideas will need to be discussed by the PCC at their next meeting in September.

We are grateful to Judith and Laura for giving us their time and expertise and we hope in the next few years or so to have a vibrant, environmentally friendly and educational asset surrounding our beautiful church for the village to enjoy.

Jane George

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