If you enjoy gardening but either don’t have your own or would like to contribute your skills to a good cause, then consider your local church yard.
The churchyard plays an important role in conservation. They are often home to wild animals such as squirrels, bats, foxes, hedgehogs and voles.
Planting can be a few simple trees or there can be well established colonies of snowdrops, crocus and daffodils as well as more formal schemes which require regular maintenance, pruning, weeding.
A fine example of what can be achieved, can be seen at St. Michael’s Church, Stanwix, Carlisle. Where the Friends of the church took the opportunity to get involved in the Living Churchyards project and created.
- A roman herb garden
- Habitats for wild animals, insects and reptiles to flourish
- Nesting boxes for birds, bats and squirrels
- A pond area to encourage insects and aquatic life
The cemetery is also promoted as an educational resource for local schools and groups.
As can be seen from this example, the church yard can be a diverse environment and an active garden. Plants and flowers can be grown to supply the church flower arrangers with materials.
Trees and shrubs provide a welcome home for urban birds and wildlife.
The church grounds take on a softer more relaxed atmosphere giving a welcome, tranquil setting to visitors.
You can arrange to garden as a group with friends and take a little peaceful time out on your own to do a little weeding.
Contact your local church to see if they have a volunteers group or see if you can arrange one.
The Living Churchyards project has now been replaced by the “Caring for gods acre” project and if you wish to become involved, further details can be found on their website.
This exciting 5 year project (2007-2012) offers volunteering opportunities and support for groups managing churchyards. The project also organises bus tours, activities and workshops for the general public.
Are you thinking of volunteering?
Training – certificated or non certificated
Experience in a wide range of conservation tasks
Travelling expenses or minibus lifts
Tools and protective clothing
Learn new skills and discover new places in beautiful surroundings with good company, tea and cake!
If you are a Church group, the Carling for gods acre” tam can visit and offer you advice on managing your churchyard as well as run activities in your churchyard for the general public or specific groups (schools, cubs, brownies etc).
There are exhibitions and displays available to borrow equipment for children to explore your churchyard.
Caring for God’s acre project – The conservation charity for Church yards and burial grounds.