Churchyard Chat – Autumn 2019

David Chappell who used to write the wonderful articles about the churchyard in the parish magazine has kindly offered to restart them; so we can share what’s happening throughout the year in the churchyard.

This is to be a new venture for me; the last time I wrote this article was in December 2018 for Here and Now our old Parish magazine. This article will go on our parish website, and hopefully go as a “Guest Blog” on the Caring for Gods Acre website. Fawley parish is a corporate member of that charity, which publishes so much useful resource material, and encourages its members to scientifically record flora and fauna along with historical and anthropological records of their Churchyards.

I would like to record my thanks and appreciation to Mr. Graham Hounslow, one of our bell ringers, a member of the P.C.C, and our I.T. specialist for helping me to compile this article.

 For the benefit of those, who have not read previous articles in the Parish magazine, our Church has a large Churchyard of almost 3 acres, with a section of adjacent scrub woodland. This is owned by Exxon Mobile but outside their boundary, in which they have been kind enough to allow the Church to carry out a certain amount of conservation work; this greatly enhances our biodiversity.

Since 2002, when the churchyard was extended and some ornamental trees were planted;  a conservation area was also set up. The result has been more awareness of the potential of the area as a source of amenity, biodiversity and wildlife enhancement.

A volunteer working party was set up in late summer 2015, and Charlie Dimmock the T.V. gardener was invited to lead the group and supervise spring bulb planting. Since then we have been formulating a management plan whereby the meadow in parts of the conservation area have  been allowed to grow on to June/July before cutting, this allow the bulbs and spring flowers to set seed. The hay has then been raked up and removed from site. Other areas have been left even longer before being cut to retain flowers and seed heads for the birds and pollinators. Once again the hay from these areas has been removed to prevent a build up of fertility in the soil. These measures have greatly improved the numbers and diversity of wild flowers and grasses; the Churchyard looking particularly spectacular in the Spring.

We have also been slowly recording all the flora and fauna for which the Churchyard provides a home. We have been fortunate to have the services of a qualified botanist from our community, who has to date recorded more than 130 different genera and species.

We have also been blessed by having the services of a B.T.O (British Trust for Ornithology) licensed bird ringer. The project has been going for just over a year, (no ringing is undertaken in the breeding season), but more than 100 birds have been ringed and recorded from 15 different species. We know that there are many more from visual sightings and their calls. 

And finally;

Why are international climate change and carbon reduction conferences rather like a game of cards?

Answer – They keep getting well and truly “Trumped”.

David J.K.Chappell