Your basket
Your basket
0 items - £0.00

Personal tools

Home News Long live the churchyard

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Long live the churchyard

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Apr, 2021 12:42 AM

St Giles Churchyard, Chideock has been participating in The Living Churchyard Project.

What would the world be, once bereft of wet and wilderness? Let them be left.
O let them be left, wildness and wet, long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Gerald Manley Hopkins

For more than a decade, the St Giles Church has maintained the churchyard at the rear of the church building as an area that supports wildlife. Initially the project was part of the initiative God ’s Acre, whose patron is the Prince of Wales.

The purpose of this project was to encourage the management of the many churchyards, quiet havens within cities and urban areas, with the potential to support wildlife in an other-wise harsh built-up environment. However the effects of loss of habitat for wildflowers, birds and invertebrates can also be seen in our rural areas.

The Living Churchyard Project was a joint initiative between the Church of England and local Wildlife Trusts. This project was strongly supported within the Salisbury Diocese by Bishop Nicholas Holtam, with many churches taking part in the annual competition.

Awarded a silver medal for 3 years, in 2016 and 2017 St Giles was awarded Gold and the top award, the Bishop’s prize of £100, for the best wildlife garden.

Over the years, the number of flower species have continued to rise, with a now-regular annual count of at least 98 wild flower species and 11 different species of grasses. This diversity attracts a range of butterflies, bees and other insects.

The competition closed when the funding for Wildlife Trusts was withdrawn but the seeds had been sown and many of the participating churches, including St Giles, continue to manage their churchyards with wildlife in mind, whilst keeping them tidy and fit for purpose for church use. An exhibition of photographs is regularly on show in the church entrance porch.

The best time to see the wildflower garden is from April - July. After this, the garden sets seed for next year and is cut back for the winter. However, there is always something to see throughout the year.

This article originally appeared in the Golden Cap E-Magazine, April 2021.

Document Actions