Churchyards and graveyards can be havens for wildlife. Over 100 species of wildflower can be found and birds often nest and feed in the ancient trees.
It is the grassland habitats within churchyards that are particularly important for wildflowers, butterflies and insects. Churchyards may be the only fragments of unimproved, wildlife-rich grassland remaining locally and can be an important refuge for the species of these habitats.
Even churchyards that are less wildlife-rich are still important. They can provide a link between other sites, allowing threatened species to move and spread.
We believe that the sympathetic management of churchyards for wildlife can be balanced with the other values of peace and beauty which churchyards provide.
We run a Conservation Churchyard Award scheme in the county to help people increase the wildlife of their churchyards. Judges visit all entrants and provide information on how best to encourage wildlife, as well as rewarding the best churchyards at an annual ceremony. Any churchyard can enter the scheme and receive an advisory visit and a plaque to display. There are then Bronze, Silver and Gold awards that can be worked towards.
For more information please contact us to arrange for an adviser to meet up with you, answer your questions and give advice.
The Wildlife Trust, in partnership with the Diocese of St Albans, helps to run the Living Churchyard Project in the county to help churches manage their churchyards in a wildlife-friendly way, while being sensitive to the needs of all the users and in particular to its primary function as a resting place for the dead and a contemplative place for their friends and relatives. For more information see the Diocese of St Albans webpage about the project.
If you are involved with management of a churchyard in Bedfordshire and would like some advice, please contact us and, together with a representative from the Diocese of St Albans, we will meet you to answer your questions and give some advice.