St Mary's Churchyard
Our churchyard is a beautiful and much loved area, and as with many churchyards, a haven for wildlife. A survey of the flora carried out recently listed 38 species of wild flowers. Diana Cook, from the local Wildlife Trust, came on a recent visit to meet Maggie, members of the Monday Gang who volunteer to maintain it, and other interested parties, to discuss the possibility of applying for a Conservation Churchyard Award. A small group will be needed to oversee the work needed to apply for the Award; any volunteers would be very welcome!
Discussions are taking place about a management plan for grass cutting to encourage flowering in the different seasons. It is also hoped to install swift boxes in the tower for these iconic birds, now in decline. This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the wealth of wildlife we have in the centre of our village, and to make it more widely known to everyone walking through the churchyard.
This is the list of flowering plants found by Judy Nightingale, Oriel O'Loughlin and Ken Clark in June/July 2021.
The Monday Gang in the Churchyard.
Last summer was very dry and hot so the grass did not grow much, needing less mowing than usual. In the winter there was rain and also gales, during one of which a large part of a big evergreen tree came down. Fortunately it was well away from any path. After two hours with a chain saw and loppers we had all the debris cleared away.
We started mowing later than usual this year due to Covid-19 lockdown. This turned out to have benefits as a great variety of wildflowers appeared all over the churchyard. This display of colour was much admired by people passing through the churchyard, so, in future, we will restrict grass cutting to allow the flowers to seed in many areas. The grass immediately round the church and the Garden of Remembrance will continue to be kept short.
It is encouraging that the churchyard is a wildlife sanctuary as each year spotted flycatchers are recorded nesting in the churchyard. There are a lot of other birds there too. Not so welcome are muntjac deer which we have seen in the churchyard on a couple of occasions, no doubt responsible for eating some of the flowers on graves in the Garden of Remembrance.
Normally, working together on Monday afternoons is very sociable for us, but this year, for our safety, we have tended to work on different days.
(This article appeared in the October 2021 edition of the Linton News)