Churchyards and burial grounds are special places – places of quiet contemplation and prayer where friends and relatives can remember loved ones in an area of green tranquillity. To others they are places where you can gain an insight into the history of a community. They are also largely untouched by modern agricultural practice and consequently have a richer variety of plant and animal life than their surroundings, whether in town or country.
Our small burial ground is no exception. Consecrated in 1935, it has been in use for burials ever since. Those areas not yet used (the NE and SE quarters) remain as unspoilt meadow. Recognising this, in 1998 the Kent Wildlife Trust designated our burial ground as a Local Wildlife Site. In 2008 it was decided to preserve and enhance its status as a natural meadow and wildlife-friendly environment.
With financial assistance from the Big Lottery Fund “Breathing Places” Scheme and with the enthusiastic support of village organisations we have improved paths, provided new seating, and made other improvements such as providing bird nesting boxes, creating habitats, replacing diseased trees and planting appropriate wildlife-friendly shrubs. We have also removed an unsightly mound of subsoil from the site, created a composting area and have installed a water butt so that visitors bringing fresh flowers to graves will no longer need to carry their own water with them.
The improvements we have made are now complete and the new “Breathing Place” was formally opened by the Canon Gill Calver, the Area Dean, at 12.00 noon on Saturday 23rd May 2009. Over 100 people attended the opening. A group has since been formed to maintain the new arrangements and to take a continuing interest in nurturing the wildlife at the site.