<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today click here

How Dorset’s churchyards provide a haven for wildlife

PUBLISHED: 15:52 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:52 20 November 2017

Fontmell Magna - an excellent example of chruchyard management with pockets of wilder areas

Fontmell Magna - an excellent example of chruchyard management with pockets of wilder areas

Archant

From bats to beetles and barn owls to butterflies, churchyards provide a wonderful haven for some of the UK’s rare flora and fauna, says Sally Welbourn of Dorset Wildlife Trust

A churchyard is where you can visit a loved one’s resting place, indulge in some quiet contemplation, or even do a little bit of research into your family history. But did you know that there is an abundance of wildlife living in these wonderful wild spaces? A bit like our gardens, churchyards can provide an oasis for wildlife in a sometimes hostile area of intensive farming or urban sprawl. These peaceful plots are great place to see wild lives thriving all year round.

Here at Dorset Wildlife Trust we are particularly keen to maintain our local churchyards as they provide a place for wildlife to exist in a protected area. We want to make the most of their unique habitat. The undisturbed nature of a churchyard means that often there are ancient grasslands which have never been re-seeded creating a rich habitat for scarce grassland flora or colourful waxcap fungi. Fungi can take all shapes, sizes and colours, so look out for them at this time of year, especially near old veteran trees and in grassland areas.

In fact, there’s a whole host of wildlife churchyards can benefit, including birds, mammals such as foxes and hedgehogs and voles, invertebrates including butterflies, bees and other important pollinators, and lichens. These survive in the habitat provided by trees, grasses and even the gravestones themselves, and form an essential part of the lifecycle for other wildlife – if you’re lucky you may see a barn owl swoop down to catch a vole.

And it’s not just outside that you may find wildlife: it’s not uncommon to find bats in the belfry. These can be a ‘mixed blessing’; the droppings and urine created by bats can damage the interior of the building, but the belfry provides vital breeding and roosting places for some very rare species of bat. This is especially important as many other traditional buildings have been lost or converted over the years.

Wherever a churchyard is, it will need care and attention to ensure the grounds are managed with wildlife in mind and to attract a large number of species. Considerations such as ensuring there is short and long grass, cutting the grass at the right time, or even putting up bird boxes in good locations can all help make the most of this space for wildlife. This is where we come in. Established by Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) more than 20 years ago, DWT’s Living Churchyards project has given advice to over 100 churchyards across the county, recognising and congratulating those who are managing their churchyards with wildlife in mind at an annual awards ceremony.

It’s not just wildlife which benefits from a well-managed churchyard, the local community also gains. Churchyards provide a tranquil escape from modern life, a place to lose yourself in the history, heritage and natural beauty found there, which in turn benefits our wellbeing and cultural awareness. 


More…

Dorset Instagrams of the week - We don’t think photos of Dorset can ever get old. Here are 10 of the best shared on Instagram this week…

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 15:56

When the weather gets colder, there’s not much more refreshing than a brisk walk across the countryside, and there’s plenty of that here in Dorset…

Read more
Yesterday, 15:50

Edward Griffiths enjoys a bracing walk which offers sensational views across the Jurassic Coast

Read more
Friday, January 19, 2018

We don’t think photos of Dorset can ever get old. Here are 10 of the best shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Think you know the places and people of Dorset? Take our quiz to find out…

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Explore the history of Christchurch through its fascinating range of buildings on this easy town stroll

Read more
Monday, January 15, 2018

From whale song to complex family dynamics of a pod, Erich Hoyt is immersed in a world of cetaceans, and he believes that humpback whales may soon be regularly sighted off Dorset’s shores

Read more
Monday, January 8, 2018

Visit Dorset has some interesting events to help fill the pages of your 2018 diary with an exciting selection of days out

Read more
Monday, January 8, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Dorset this month

Read more
Monday, January 8, 2018

From cool coastal resorts to bustling market hubs, Andy Greeves chooses ten towns whose history, ambience and busy events diary make them ‘must visit’ destinations

Read more
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Visit Dorset share some of their favourite things to do around the county at this magical time of year

Read more
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

With Durdle Door, Brownsea Island, Jurassic Coast and a whole host of other stunning sights, Dorset is an amazing place for a stroll

Read more
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Sally Welbourn shares her favourite wildlife stories of 2017

Read more
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Edward Griffiths has a Boxing Day walk that offers views, wildlife and ancient history

Read more
Friday, December 8, 2017

Corfe Castle really is stunning, isn’t it? You know it and we know it. But let’s remind ourselves anyway…

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link
 
Pure Weddings advert link
 
South West Life advert link
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest


subscription ad
subscription ad

Latest Competitions & Offers

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad
Dorset Magazine Application Link

Local Business Directory

Dorset's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search