St. Andrew’s Churchyard
Written by: Nigel Pollard
The intention of the project was to restore specified areas of St. Andrew’s Churchyard and Cemetery back to the grassland habitat that earnt it County Wildlife Site status in the 1990s. This was to be achieved by implementing a Management Plan agreed by the PCC and the Greensand Trust which defined how each area of the site would be mowed during an annual cycle. In addition, the implementation and monitoring of the project was to involve volunteers from of the local public and, in particular, school–age children.
The project achieved all its objectives, specifically:
• The population of Meadow Saxifrage (the primary indicator species) has more than quadrupled over the three years of monitoring.
• A total of 530 volunteer hours were logged over the two and a half years – many more than I anticipated. This
also resulted in an underspend on contractors!!
• Many visitors have commented positively on the wildflowers and butterflies during the summer.
I am most proud of the involvement of my group of teenage volunteers, not just in their contribution to the mowing and forage harvesting but also to the planting of a new hedge.
Benefits to People
Local teenagers have learnt environmental management skills and feel a sense of ownership in what they have achieved.
The project has increased my sense of pride in a job well done and the resultant increase in biodiversity lifts my spirit
whenever I visit the site.
Benefits to Heritage & Landscape
After only three years of work, the variety and numbers of wild flowers has noticeably increased, e.g. Star of Bethlehem, and Mugwort (never seen before). This in turn, has led to increased observations of different butterflies, e.g. Common Skipper, and Marbled White.
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
The biggest challenge was liaising with contractors. I had to be much more proactive with my project management than I had expected.
Another challenge was the criticism I faced from some members of the public who could not see the environmental benefit of the wilder areas. Information boards were added to the project to mitigate this.
I would not enter into a project with such a complicated financial arrangement. I would warn anyone about the time–consuming nature of the financial and statistical reporting.
“I have enjoyed the churchyard – much more attractive with all those lovely flowers.”
Mum of teenage volunteers: “Thank you for the opportunities both C and A have had to learn from and with you over the
last few years.”
– PCC Member