Guidance to Churchyard Management Plans by Jeronohnson


									5. Summer meadow
The summer meadow sward should be cut to a height of 8cm
every 3 weeks through spring until the end of May and then                  Guidance to Churchyard
left unmown until August/September after which it should be                   Management Plans
cut and the mowing left on the ground for a few days for the
seed to fall out. The ‘hay’ should then be removed and the
ground trampled to push the seeds into the ground.
Thereafter it should be cut every three weeks with the removal        What is a Management Plan ?
of cuttings until the end of October. As with the spring              A management plan is a schedule of actions necessary to
meadow, this regime will reduce the fertility of the soil and         achieve an environmentally friendly churchyard, taking
encourage a greater diversity of wild flowers                         into account the measures and attention necessary for the
6. Areas around headstones and the base of trees                      various seasons of the year.

The grass should not be cut too close to the headstones and           How to draw up a management Plan.
trees. An area of longer growth prevents damage to tree
trunks. It also maintains the stability of headstones as well as      The keepers of the churchyard should discuss what is the
giving shelter to small animals                                       best strategy for their considered in the care of the
                                                                      churchyard in addition to wildlife. The Church building,
Example Two:                                                          the monuments and the historic treasures of the site must
Section A: Spring flowers—cut from mid June                           not be jeopardized by the promotion of wildlife
                                                                      conservation. Management plans need to be realistic.
Section B: Summer flowers—cut till April and from July.
                                                                      A management plan can either be in the form of a written
Section C: Wild daffodil area—cut from July
                                                                      document or by an annotated map showing, for example,
Section D: Cut regularly all season, as are the paths                 the areas to be cut at which time of the year. At the
Section E: An uncut strip round the edge providing a haven for        bottom of the map a few comments could be made that do
mammals, slow-worms and grass snakes and the invertebrates            not fit easily on the map itself, such as avoiding chemical
                                                                      treatments throughout the churchyard, disposal of hay and
                                                  D                   grass cuttings, and details of volunteer work parties etc.

                                    D                             E   This leaflet contains examples of both a written
                                                                      management plan and an annotated map which can be
  A                     CHURCH                                        adapted quite easily for any churchyard.
                                                   C                  A well managed churchyard is a beautiful place, which is
                                          Path                    E   not only a vital sanctuary for wildlife but a place for quiet
                  B                                                   reflection.

          Trees                                    Compost heap        Reg. Charity No. 1097009   Company reg. in England & Wales No. 4609624
Key Management Principles                                       Examples of two types of Churchyard Management Plans
• All grass cuttings should be raked up and removed from        Example One:
 wildflower areas. Removal of grass clippings from other        1. Permanently close mown grass (up to 5cm)
 areas is also desirable.
                                                                This helps to give the well tended appearance needed in a
• Pathways to and around the church and those to tended         churchyard immediately in front of the church, along the edges
 graves should be kept mown together with access to             of the paths and around frequently visited graves. Close
 compost heaps.                                                 mowing may also be needed to provide paths through meadow
                                                                areas for access to the latter. To maintain this length, a weekly
• Grass should be placed on a compost heap with other
                                                                cut in the growing season may be necessary.
 biodegradable material, such as small twigs, prunings and
                                                                2. Permanent short grass (up to 10cm)
 floral tributes. (Grass alone forms a solid mass).      A
 compost heap provides a home for fungi, bacteria and           This is valuable if interesting low growing species are present,
 invertebrates which in turn become food for frogs, toads,      such as mouse-ear hawkweed, self heal, or hoary plantain. The
 slowworms, grass snakes and birds. Grass snakes as well        grass should be cut every 2-3 weeks to maintain an appropriate
 as hedgehogs may overwinter in the heap because of the         height. Adjustment may be needed to this time interval to
 warmth.                                                        ensure that the important species are able to flower and set
• Information should be clearly provided to guide visitors to   3. Permanent long grass
 dispose of their waste appropriately and a separate waste
                                                                It is desirable to leave some areas of the churchyard under long
• Clear boundaries between closely cut grass and the longer     grass throughout the year. This provides shelter, food and
 wildflower areas demonstrate that the churchyard is well       overwintering sites for invertebrates and other small animals
 managed rather than neglected.                                 e.g. Frogs, lizards, field voles etc. Areas just inside boundary
• Lichens, mosses and small wall plants should not be           walls and hedges or less visited parts of the churchyard are
 removed from gravestones or walls.                             suitable to be managed in this way. However, to prevent scrub
                                                                invasion (to maintain the grass species) these areas should be
• Avoid the use of chemicals
                                                                divided into three to five sections and a different section cut in
• Interpretation boards or displays can be used to inform       autumn each year in rotation with the rest left uncut. Cuttings
 visitors on the local flora and fauna                          should be removed.
                                                                4. Spring meadow
• Management practices should be sympathetic to wildlife
 and where possible encourage or improve habitats eg bat        The spring meadow should be cut in late June/early July and
 boxes, log piles etc                                           the cuttings allowed to lie on the ground for a few days so that
                                                                the seeds can fall out. The ‘hay’ should then be removed and,
• Information  boards which explain how and why the             ideally the ground trampled to push the seeds into the ground.
 churchyard is managed are beneficial and encourage             Thereafter, mow once a month to a height of 4-5cm until the
 interest and support for management practices.                 autumn with the removal of cuttings and then leave unmown
For more information on churchyard management                   until the following June/July
plans, please contact: Lin Wenlock Tel: 01376
584386 or email:

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