The churchyard group is a group of volunteers who have been working in the churchyard for the last few year, overseen by George Harris (the Parks Department gardener).
We want to make the churchyard feel cared for and welcoming to those visiting their special graves. At the same time we want to ensure that the strong feeling of nature isn't lost and to encourage a variety of wildlife.
A lot of undergrowth has been cleared, especially around the tombs. Many of the memorials had been laid flat for safety reasons after the 1987 hurricane, and had long since been covered by a healthy growth of grass and nettles. We have tried to keep the grass around the regularly visited graves under control, whilst leaving areas where we have planted wild flowers, including cowslips, campion, hawkweed, teasel, foxglove, wild carrot, yellow rattle to attract insects, butterflies and birds. There is also a wild flower meadow to the north of the church and a group of Sussex Wildlife Trust Youth Rangers have created a bug hotel. Some parts of the surrounding flint walls have been repaired and we are working on improving the pathways.
Help and advice has been sought from wildlife offices, flint wall repairers, stone masons, 'tombstone co-ordinators' and volunteers in other churchyards. All the experts we have met have been very generous with their time and very willing to pass on their skills.
We think we've made a difference and that the churchyard is looking more cared for, whilst still keeping its feeling of wildness. We get enormous pleasure when people passing through tell us they think the same!