“People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure”
“The fate of animals is indissolubly connected with the fate of man”
“The love of all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man”
“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his father, but borrowed from his children”
John James Audubon
“If we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold or silver”
“It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it”
“What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on?”
David Henry Thoreau
“Our task must be to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty”
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous”
“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent towards them”
George Bernard Shaw
“All over the world the wildlife I write about is being exterminated by what we call the progress of civilisation”
“If you have a man who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men”
St. Francis of Assisi
Mark Hewitt (Wildlife Conservation Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority) organised a training day in June 2013, teaching scything to members of the Conservation Group in Grinton Churchyard.
The Grinton Conservation project has been running for over a year, and a wide range of local people have shown interest and been involved with different areas of work.
Throughout 2013, the group met informally, over coffee and scones, at 10.30am on the first Saturday of each month in the church. The meetings were to hear how each part of the work was progressing, to share news and information, to ask for volunteers and to bring new ideas. Each time, the group also went out into the churchyard to do some plant and animal identification, gravestone recording and tidying up.
What we did in 2013…
A group went on a scything training day, and currently the churchyard is managed by scything and by a group of local people who come to tidy round gravestones and cut weeds and brambles. Members of Low Row Church have also started to scythe their churchyard.
A monthly record was kept of which plants are growing in which parts of the churchyard (except for when they were under snow!)
Gordon Sergeant from Reeth kept a record of which birds are using the churchyard and where they are nesting. There is a poster in church with an impressive list of the species that he found.
The Conservation Group has a grant from the YDNPA to start a bee keeping project, and one of the churchwardens is a keen beekeeper, so the plan is to have 3 hives up and running in the churchyard once the weather warms up. A winter meeting was held indoors, and we attempted to build beehives. (They were more complicated than we had thought!)
Volunteers from the North Yorkshire Bat Group have started coming on a monthly basis to do a full count and record of bat activity. A Noctule bat (the biggest British bat) has been discovered feeding in and around the churchyard. There were two bat walks during the year, attended by people of all ages.
Leilah Vyner from Dragon Willow (http://www.dragonwillow.co.uk/) came in December to teach a group how to weave willow wreaths for Christmas. We hope to have her back for a bigger project in the summer – watch this space!
Jonathan Dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is putting together a database of the gravestones in Grinton churchyard, to record them before they weather too much to read, and to link with the Upper Dales family History Group. He would be glad to hear from anyone who would be willing to volunteer to help with this recording work. He will teach you what needs to be done.
There were regular Conservation Group updates in the Reeth Gazette and displays and photographs in the church for visitors to look at. We have had many positive comments in the church visitors’ book about the work in the churchyard.
Looking ahead to 2014
The Conservation Group will continue to meet on the first Saturday of most months. The next meeting is Saturday 1 March at 10.30am. Information is on the church railings and a full programme of talks and activities will be available shortly.
7 June, 9.30pm – Bat Walk in the churchyard.
This event is open to all and is in partnership with the Swaledale Festival. It will follow their evening concert in the church.
Can you help with a pond container?
The group is planning to have a pond in the churchyard, to provide a habitat for insects, birds and plants. The nature of the site means that we can’t dig a hole (!), so we are looking out for a stone trough or a similar large and solid container that would be suitable for use in this environment. If you can help, please contact the vicar: email@example.com