SACWG: Churchyard and Burial Ground Wildlife Survey

This project is currently inactive

Nature of the Survey

Churchyards, cemeteries and burial grounds are often important local pockets of biodiversity, sporting a rich variety of both plant and animal life.  They are populated frequently by unusual and ancient trees, and the stonework and boundary walls provide a home for a mosaic of mosses, ferns and lichens.  In many cases, they have not been subject to intensive cultivations practices for tens or even hundreds of years and ancient meadow habitats may be found, with characteristic assemblages of unusual plants.  As such, they offer ideal outdoor laboratories for the study of distinctive ecosystems.

Churchyards and burial grounds often exhibit unusual flora resulting from long periods of low intensity cultivation. (Photo: Caroline Uff)

Churchyards and burial grounds often exhibit unusual flora resulting from long periods of low intensity cultivation. (Photo: Caroline Uff)

This project seeks to identify what species of plants and animals occupy local churchyards and burial grounds by conducting surveys focussed on plants, mammals, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and birds.  It will involve both concentrated studies by groups of interested members within a short time frame and also repeated visits to areas over an extended period of time.  Not only do we want to characterise the biodiversity of these areas but would like to identify the factors that make some more productive habitats than others, with a view to making recommendations for the enhancement of the wildlife value of these environments.

Project Activities 2014

Nine sites were visited during the period April-July 2014.  These were:

A report has been prepared by Caroline Uff on each visit and these may be accessed individually by clicking on the appropriate survey location in the above links.  The reports are in MS Word format.

Churchyards are important local pockets of biodiversity, sporting a rich variety of both plant and animal life. (Photo: Caroline Uff)

Churchyards are important local pockets of biodiversity, sporting a rich variety of both plant and animal life. (Photo: Caroline Uff)

Several churches were suggested by members which lie outside of the Strettons Area, so they were not included, but they may be something we could think about in future, perhaps as a joint event with the community wildlife group for that area.

Want to Help?

If you would like to be involved in this project, please contact Caroline Uff.  No prior knowledge is required – you will receive training in the identification and recording of plants and animals, and we expect that the first surveys will be conducted with group visits to sites, accompanied by experts.  The project is intended to be interesting, scientifically valid and, above all, fun!


Page updated: 22/02/2015 by AJA