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
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