Swaledale with Arkengarthdale
“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 intention is to manage the churchyard in a traditional way by scything the grass. Scythes, used properly, cause less damage to gravestones than strimmers, and is a quiet and environmentally friendly way of working. It can also be used in any weather, so we do not have to wait for the grass to be dry to manage it in this way.
On Saturday 10 November 2012, a group of about 30 people gathered in Grinton churchyard to learn about scything, led by Mark Hewitt, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Wildlife Officer.
Mark uses a modern Austrian scythe, with a straight Ash snath (handle) and a very thin, very sharp steel blade, which does the work of cutting, so that effort can be kept to a minimum. The blade needs sharpening with a wet-stone at regular intervals.
Mark demonstrated the use of the scythe, and group members took turns to try their hand at scything. Mark showed the group the area that he had previously cut, and taught how it is possible with a scythe to be very accurate and cut around objects such as gravestones without causing damage.
The group was very enthusiastic and kept Mark busy with lots of questions.
We later went into the church for coffee and scones and discussed ideas and forming an ongoing conservation group for the churchyard.
We gathered a whole board full of ideas to work on (over time!) - there is a picture of this board attached (Click here)
We decided to do the following:
......To hold a coffee morning on one the first Saturday of each month at 10.30am in the at church, to promote the Conservation Group, to invite others and to do some work about the churchyard each time.
.....To do what we can and not to worry that the we can't do it all at once!
.....To buy some scythes and to hold a more 'hands on' scything training day in the new year, once the weather improves
.....To keep on top of the scything from next year 2013
.....To keep a monthly record from January 2013 of which plants are growing in which parts of the churchyard.
.....To keep a record from April January 2013 of which birds are in the churchyard and where they are nesting
.....To ask the Tree Officer to come and look at the churchyard trees and give his advice
.....To keep people informed of all of this through the Reeth Gazette, the parish website and through talking about it
This conservation work is an extension of the Grinton Bat Project which we have been working on in the church for a couple of years. With help from the YDNPA we have a display and a bat detector and have done some bat walks in the season, which were popular and which we will repeat next yearin 2013.
The aims of this project are to :
.....Raise awareness among residents and visitors about the bats that roost in St Andrew's Church;
.....Educate church members about bats and encourage them to value and celebrate the bats in Grinton Church;
.....Put together a leaflet and some sign boards with bat information for visitors;
.....Find out more about which bats we have, and their behaviour;