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CEL home > News and Archive > Bradford Diocese > Long Preston May 2005


Churchyard Wildlife Seminar

Sat 21 May 2005

Over 40 people from right across Yorkshire to Lancashire came to the Churchyard Management Seminar held at St Mary's Church, Long Preston on Saturday 21 May 2005. Three staff and three volunteers from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust ran the seminar.

Revd. Mark Russell-Smith (the vicar) and Revd. Rachel Wilson (the curate) welcomed people to the meeting. The seminar was supported by the Bowland Deanery of the Bradford Diocese.

The event was timed to link in with the Environment Sunday on June 5 th .

On the left we see one of the three working groups setting off to explore the churchyard.

Earlier Mrs Brenda Gilling had showed slides and gave tips about how to manage for wildlife - e.g. if mowing a grass path through long grass to a grave area, make it wide as the adjacent grass will grow tall. Label wildlife areas, so people understand about conservation. Often it is as important to keep well lit meadow areas, as it is to plant extra trees in suitable areas.




Even common plants such as this Germander speedwell, whose flowers are just less than 1cm across, look beautiful when seen close up


One group discussed why some grave-stones had yellow lichens such as this one:- Bird-perch Lichen - whilst others nearby had completely different set of lichens. Could it be due to the type of rock that the grave-stone is made of?

There could well be over 70 or 100 species of lichens in the churchyard and on the church.

A useful leaflet back in the seminar room (village hall) told us how moving the position of a stone slab- e.g. by placing it against a wall - can cause the death of the lichens on it, because the light conditions change. And the lichens on the wall behind the stone slab will die too.

Members of the WI supplied tea and excellent cakes. More information about the Yorkshire Wildlife "Living Churchyard" project can be obtained from Elizabeth Hardcastle on 01904 659 570.


Mrs Clare Hyde (01254 878 402), coordinator for Earth Care (the team of people in the area of the Bradford Diocese concerned about Care of the Environment) who attended the seminar said:

"It is important to organise events for children. For example at our church - Hurst Green (near Clitheroe) - we had a service: "Worship in Wellies" in which people came to service in wellies and then had a picnic in the churchyard afterwards and we looked at wildlife habitats such as ivy on walls. We also used the time to clear parts that had become exceptionally overgrown and looked at how we could manage areas better for wildlife. This event got everyone enthusiastic."


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