What is the Churchyard Project?
This project is run under the National Living Churchyard and Cemetery Project with the aim to advise parishes on the care of wildlife in the churchyard without losing sight of their primary purpose.
Participating churches are encouraged to undertake an initial survey to find out what species are already there and then to draw up a management plan which will allow some wildlife areas.
In Dorset, churches have the chance to enter a competition, which is judged primarily on the measures that have been undertaken to enhance wildlife habitat, rather than the quality of wildlife habitat or the number of plant and animal species found.
What sort of measures can be undertaken to improve the wildlife in a churchyard?
There are many actions that can be taken to improve churchyard wildlife such as leaving areas of grass uncut to allow wild flowers to set seed and grow.
Insect populations can be encouraged by planting native species of shrubs which in turn will provide a good food source for birds and bats that might live in the specially erected bird or bat boxes.
Species diversity can also be increased by allowing the development of mosses, ferns and lichens on stonework and also by leaving log piles for insects and other species such as slow worms to use as a habitat.