A churchyard haven

St Paul's churchyard in Healey which is set to become a haven for wildlife (S)
St Paul's churchyard in Healey which is set to become a haven for wildlife (S)

VILLAGE churchyard is set to be transformed into a haven for wildlife in an ambitious project.

A group of volunteers at St Paul’s Church in Healey wants to see the churchyard, which is already well cared for, become a more natural environment and encourage wildlife into the area.

They set up the Healey Green St. Paul’s Active Churchyard Environment group, or Healey greenSPACE, to work on the churchyard.

The motivation came after the church building was renovated and the congregation decided the outside space deserved the same care and attention.

Work started in September last year when volunteers cleared an area of debris and made a space for wildflowers to be planted under trees, creating a woodland area.

So far the project has all been carried out by 10 volunteers led by project manager Ray Blyth, a retired nurseryman and adult education tutor.

Ray said the next steps will see volunteers erect a fence around the area and improve the churchyard’s traditional dry stone walls.

And soon a group of school children from nearby Kell Bank primary school are set to get involved by helping to plant the wildflowers.

The group is also planning to feature its enthusiastic volunteers – and the flora found around the churchyard – in an “Image of the Month”, and gravestones will be recorded to help genealogists researching families in the area.

However, as the churchyard is still used for burials in the village community the area will still be well maintained, Ray said.

The work is all carried out on working party days, and Ray and the other volunteers hope the community and other organisations will want to get involved.

The next working party day is planned for Saturday, January 14.

For more information contact Ray Blyth on 01765 689289 or visit the church website at www.stpaulshealey.co.uk.