LETTER: Churchyards help protect biodiversity

Your correspondent (Overgrown churchyard, Sussex Express June 17 2016) who complains of a country churchyard being “overgrown” may like to look at the website www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk to see a different perspective.

Biodiversity is being lost from agricultural areas at an alarming rate, and country churchyards are one place where traditional plant varieties can be preserved and celebrated as a glory of creation.

Most people see a churchyard full of summer flowers as a delight to be enjoyed. The long wet spring this year has meant a lot of plant growth, and mowing regimes now often specify cutting after the native flora has set seed, so sometimes a degree of untidiness can’t be avoided.

Since people have moved away from Christian beliefs about death, there has been perhaps an overemphasis on stone monuments, derived it may be from Victorian advertising of the (then new) commercial cemeteries around London.

A churchyard that is merely shorn can look like a field of broken teeth, hardly conducive to contemplation. Rural churches are struggling for members, and if your correspondent is interested in churchyards, he may like to volunteer at his local church as part of the general effort to maintain the nation’s heritage of ancient churches and of biodiversity.

Mrs J M Tillyard

Greenwell Close, Seaford