At the end of June 2022, we were delighted to welcome Graham Hart and Cathy Smith from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Our Churchwarden, Emma Ward, asked them to advise on how best to manage the churchyard and it turned out to be a very positive and informative visit.
Our current management arrangement is to mow paths frequently whilst leaving the remaining grass long over the summer at the end of which we strim and rake. They agreed this was the right strategy: continuing to mow paths helps balance the needs of different user groups and demonstrates that the management was both purposeful and, at the same time, well-kept and cared for. They advised that the shorter grass was valuable for basking reptiles and many other invertebrates.
The best time of year to mow is between mid and late July. They suggested we leave some of the edges under trees unmown over the winter on a two or three-year rotation. Queen Bumblebees will over winter in tussocky grass and it also extends the seed availability for birds such as Linnets and Greenfinches. There were several wildflower and herb species to be seen on the day of the visit; Red Clover, Mouse Eared Hawkweed, Cats Ear, Herb Robert and Cowslip to name but a few! To see the full Suffolk Wildlife report click here.
A factsheet from SWT regarding churchyard management can be found here.