Wilder Churches

Wilder Churches

Join us and start the journey to making your local church wilder…

Wilder Churches - a new initiative

Wilder Churches is a new partnership initiative between Somerset Wildlife Trust and the Diocese of Bath and Wells that is supporting communities to get to know the wildlife in their local churchyard and work together to find ways to increase the value of these special places for wildlife.

Churchyards are often the oldest enclosed piece of land in a parish and many still support a rich variety of wildflowers and wildlife, having remained unscathed from the widespread loss of habitats seen in the wider countryside due to changing land management practices.

The Diocese of Bath and Wells oversees 477 parishes of over 900,000 people in the county and they are working with us to bring communities and church leaders together to learn more about their churchyards and how they can manage them with wildlife in mind.  

Key to the initiative is the ongoing support provided to anyone and everyone interested in being involved. Launched on 24 March 2021, regular, free online training sessions are supporting communities to take positive action at a pivotal time for nature. 

purple stylised flowers in the foreground with a out of focus church in the back

Next Wilder Churches session:

Our next Wilder Churches event 'Wilder Churches: Making a plan to help nature in your churchyard' will be held online on Wednesday 22 September from 7pm - 8.30pm via Zoom

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Priddy churchyard

Somerset Wildlife Trust

Handy resources for Wilder Churches

Here are a collection of resources which will help you on your Wilder Churches journey

Explore

Wilder Churches session one

This is the first session in a series of online training and guidance. It took place in March 2021. 

Wilder Churches session two

This is a recording of the second event in a series of free ‘Wilder Churches’ online training and support. This session focuses on getting to know your churchyard with wildlife in mind, with advice and support on discovering the current value of your churchyard for wildlife, a vital first step in helping biodiversity in these special places.

The event also provides advice ways to communicate about Wilder Churches in your community and encourage others to join in, together with guidance on how to find out the key information about your churchyard and how it is currently managed. Catch up on the video and if you are interested, please let us know and get involved in your community!

Wilder Churches session three

In this session, Pippa Rayner, the Trust's Engaging with Nature Coordinator, provides advice and support on potential beneficial actions for wildlife in your churchyard, other church land or burial ground. This includes examples of what some communities have already achieved in their local churchyard and what they have learnt along the way. Emma Brown, Church Buildings Adviser for the Diocese also provides information on things to consider when planning to take action for wildlife in your churchyard and how to get in touch for detailed guidance. Ensuring everyone in your community has a chance to share their ideas and thoughts on how the churchyard is cared for is also really important. Pippa suggests ways to consult your community and together identify actions for wildlife that work for your community and the church.  

Wilder Churches session four

In this session, Pippa Rayner, the Trust's Engaging with Nature Coordinator, provides advice on creating a simple, practical management plan for your churchyard, other church land or burial ground that outlines how the churchyard is being cared for with nature in mind and why, as well as ways people can help. Sara Emmett (Assistant Diocesan Environment Officer) from the Diocese of Bath and Wells also provides advice on potential sources of funding and other ways to help with any financial costs that can arise from changing management or creating habitats as part of your plan, particularly at the start.

Pippa’s role is funded through the Mendip Wildlife Links project, which is supported by a Section 106 agreement between Aggregate Industries UK Ltd and Somerset County Council through the Torr Works Environmental Enhancement Fund.

SWT and Diocese of Bath and Wells logo

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