Sunday, 10:00am St Mary's Church, Boston Spa

City Church


Churchyard Conservation

The Churchyard is a large rectangle, running down to the River Wharfe, and is of limestone grassland. It is managed using the principles of the “Living Churchyard” project which, under the auspices of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the York Diocese, aims:

“To enhance wildlife and its habitat in churchyards and burial grounds through conservation management. To create an atmosphere of benefit to grieving visitors, to  encourage educational use of churchyards and burial grounds. To aid understanding of our natural and cultural heritage and its importance  in God’s creation. To enhance the amenity value of churchyards and burial grounds”.  

There are graves from the 19th Century through to recent ones and areas are mown at different lengths and at different times of year, including a substantial area of long grassland, which is very favourable to wildlife. At the same time areas near the church and the new graves are kept well tended and grass paths are kept short to aid access and create boundaries. 

There has been a survey of all the plants in the Churchyard (between 80 & 90 species) and there are abundant insects, including bumble-bees and butterflies, as well as birds and small mammals. The churchyard has mature tall trees, shrubs, ivy and also some areas of brambles and nettles (at the edges) which are especially important for wildlife. 

Many people walk through the churchyard, to and from the river, and it is much used as a place of mourning and reflection for the bereaved. There is also a memorial garden, where ashes are interred. 

The management plan is supervised by a member of the congregation, in consultation with the PCC. Several members of the congregation give a few hours in most weeks to helping keep the churchyard in good order and always welcome additional assistance. Please contact Terry Gaussen 01937 844345 if you are interested in joining our team.

The Churchyard provides a lovely setting for the life and work of the Church.