BHNF is working with Church Wardens to create improved wildlife areas in the churchyard. A narrow long grass margin has been left uncut for a number of years and from 2016 onwards a larger area of grass will also be left to grow in an area that has previously been cut short all year round. BHNF staff and trainees undertook a botanical survey of the site in 2015 and provided management guidance which included identifying the areas where wildflower species were most prolific.
Leaving the area of grass uncut between April and August will allow wildflowers to grow, set seed and over time potentially out compete the more rigorous grass species. This new habitat will benefit a wide range of wildlife including insects, birds, butterflies and small mammals. The grass will be cut each year in late summer and the cuttings removed to prevent excess nutrients being out back into the soil (wildflowers prefer nutrient-poor soils).
The church is keen to involve the local community in managing the churchyard and there will be opportunities for people to get involved in bat surveys, botanical identification and other activities. It is hoped that the management of the new meadow area will involve the village Scout group who will receive scything training and put up bird boxes. Longer term it is hoped that more areas of the grass in the churchyard will be managed in a similar way.