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Northamptonshire Wildlife

Conservation Churchyard Award Scheme

Patron - The Bishop of Peterborough, The Rt. Revd. Donald Allister


Importance of Churchyards for Wildlife

Churchyards and graveyards can be havens for wildlife: many birds 
nest and feed in them, different wild flowers grow, and their trees 
are often an important feature of the village.

In addition churchyards play a significant role as part of the whole 
mosaic of important sites for wildlife across our three counties. 
Grassland habitats within churchyards are particularly important 
havens for wildlife, such as wildflowers, butterflies and insects and 
can often form the remaining fragments of old, unimproved, wildlife 
rich grasslands.

The Wildlife Trust encourages the management of Churchyards for the 
conservation of their wildlife and believes this can be balanced with other values of 
peace and beauty which churchyards provide.

Churchyard Conservation Award

The Wildlife Trust runs the Conservation Churchyard Award Scheme 
which aims to help villages increase the wildlife of their churchyards. 
Any churchyard can enter the scheme and will receive an advisory 
visit and plaque to display. There are then Bronze, Silver and Gold 
awards that can be worked towards.

Advisers will visit your churchyard every three years; however  advisory visits are available 
annually on request or if you want to apply for one of the awards. Our visits will focus on 
providing information on how best to encourage wildlife as well as rewarding the best 
churchyards.

Getting started

However big or small, urban or rural your churchyard is it will have 
value for local wildlife. If you would like to enter the scheme or just 
want some advice about management, please contact us at The 
Wildlife Trust and we will arrange for an adviser to meet up with 
yourselves, answer your questions and give some advice.

Gather a group; what skills do you have, what other groups could you 
involve i.e. scouts, schools, gardening clubs?

Talk to your church; explain your ideas, gain their support , who currently manages your 
churchyard, how and why?

Look around; what wildlife already uses your churchyard, what else could you attract?

Start small; focus on a small area first, only take on as much as you can manage.

Make a plan; what can you do, when and why? - present it to your church.

What to do -Top tips for improving your churchyard for wildlife

Every churchyard is different but here are some ideas on what you 
could do for wildlife;

Provide bird, bat and insect boxes plus log piles.

Leave small plants and lichens on walls and monuments

Plant herbs to attract butterflies and bees

Plant trees for the future, site them carefully and inspect them annually

Seek advice on surveying and caring for the churchyard

Plant hedges - providing cover and winter berries for birds and mammals

Are there any grassland areas you could cut differently? i.e. 
remove grass cuttings from mown areas to encourage wild 
flower growth

Build a compost heap - great for reptiles and small mammals

Maintain a list of plants and animals seen in the churchyard and make this 
available on a noticeboard for everyone to see.


Contact us; The Wildlife Trust BCN, Lings House, Lings Way, Billing 
Lings, Northampton, NN3 8BE

Telephone (01604) 405285

Email; northamptonshire@wildlifebcn.org

Further Resources;

www.wildlifebcn.org/churchyards

www.ecocongregation.org

www.northantschurchyardgroup.org.uk


In 2013, the following Churchyards received a Gold Award

- Newton Bromswold

- Stoke Doyle

- Yelvertoft

with Stoke Doyle Churchyard winning the overall competition.