The winners of the 2012 Living Churchyard Competition have been announced by Dorset Wildlife Trust, following the visits of expert judges to over 25 Dorset churches. St James, Milton Abbas has scooped the top prize for a third year and there were winners from Branksome in the east to Beaminster in the west as church-goers welcomed wildlife as well as people to Dorset’s places of worship.
Dr Sharron Abbott, Living Churchyard Project Co-ordinator at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Our judges have been so impressed by the many wonderful local volunteers who give their time and labour to managing their churchyards for wildlife, at the same time ensuring that this does not make them look like an ‘unkempt and neglected wilderness’. These havens form an important patchwork across our county for wildlife and our congratulations go to the winners with heartfelt thanks to all the groups who work so hard.”
Churchyards can be enhanced for wildlife
Living Churchyards, sponsored by the Diocese of Salisbury, encourages local communities to manage their churchyards for the benefit of wildlife as well as the local congregation, visitors and the bereaved. Ways in which churchyards can be enhanced for wildlife include developing small areas of mown grass into mini-wildflower meadows, replacing exotic shrubs and hedges with native species and planting nectar-rich flowers to encourage butterflies and other insects.
Sharron added: “Our winners show that the key to success is to produce and work to a clear management plan, and to communicate this effectively to local people. We are very happy to advise parishes so they can get started and ensure their churchyard can be a haven for nature and for people.”
This year’s winners are:
Best Newcomer St Mary, Tarrant Hinton
Best Urban Churchyard St Clement, Branksome
Best Managed (joint winners) St Mary, Beaminster and St Martin, Broadmayne
Bishop’s Prize (best overall) St James, Milton Abbas
The annual prize-giving takes place at Brooklands Farm on Saturday 20th October, when the Rt. Rev. Dr. Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne, will present the certificates to representatives of all the participating groups.
Churches interested in finding out more about the scheme can ring 01305 264620 or click here.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Joy Walls at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust is part of the Natural Weymouth and Portland Partnership; connecting people with nature.
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
St Mary Tarrant Hinton Best Newcomer D LYNCH
St-Clements Branksome Best Urban Churchyard J CREWE
St Mary Beaminster Best Managed joint B WELCH
St Martin Broadmayne Best Managed joint DWT
St James Milton Abbas Bishops Prize T BATES