Haughton St Giles - Churchyard Ecology

A haven for flora and fauna in God’s Acre



The idea for a natural wildlife habitat within the churchyard was raised at the Launch Meeting of the Best Kept Village competition in March 2010.  It was decided to adopt and maintain two areas of the churchyard to provide a wildlife habitat for wildflowers, insects, birds and small mammals.  It would be a controlled project, with wildflower seeds being introduced gradually and careful monitoring to ensure that the areas developed successfully.  Monitoring and recording of the variety of species would be undertaken by the pupils of Haughton St Giles School as part of their curriculum work in Geography, Science and Maths.  The areas would be marked by notice-boards which would show the purpose and give information about what might be seen.  The rest of the churchyard would be mown and maintained to its usual high standard.  

The project in May and June 2010

Bird and bat boxes were put in place.  Containers for water were placed, piles of logs and sticks were created and wildflowers were allowed to flourish un-mown.

The project in August 2011

Anyone at home?

Evidence of thriving bird-life on one of the notices?

Red Admiral butterfly on a Buddleia flower

The project has continued to develop throughout 2011 and 2012.  In both years Haughton won the top Best Kept Village Award, being declared Best Kept Large Village in Staffordshire.  Judges visited the project on each of six unannounced judging inspections, noting in 2011 the ‘well-maintained wildlife area’ in the churchyard and in 2012 that the ‘small ecology/wildlife area was clearly signed.’


Haughton Village entered Britain in Bloom for the first time in 2011, winning a Silver-Gilt Award.  The judges paid one visit, during which they were taken to the churchyard and noted ‘the creation of a wildlife environment in the church grounds with wildflowers, bat and bird boxes’ as an area of achievement.  In 2012, when Haughton Village again won Silver-Gilt the judges noted as areas of achievement ‘the newly installed wild flower garden with its particular attention to wild life habitat such as  log piles, water, and  bird boxes’ and ‘the interpretation board to Natural Wild life area in grounds of St Giles’.


To add to this success, Haughton St Giles Churchyard Wildlife project was commended in the Community and Wellbeing Category of the Stafford Borough Council Green Awards 2012.

Four pyracantha plants were added to the garden in Autumn 2012.  Pyracantha, also known as firethorn, grows well in clay soils.  Although the plants have very sharp thorns they are both bird and bee-friendly.  They provide shelter and food in the form of berries for birds and the white flowers provide nectar for the bees.  One of the new plants has red berries, one has yellow and two have orange.

An example of a sign indicating what can be found in the wildlife area of the churchyard in each season

In 2013, St Giles churchyard was awarded




in the

Diocese of Lichfield’s


Churchyard Awards

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