Caring for God's earth

The fifth of the C of E’s five “marks of mission” is: to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. We approach this by:

  • Working towards silver status in the A Rocha Eco Church project.
  • Maintaining the flower rich grassland of our churchyard

St Wilfrid's flower-rich churchyard

 

Here in the heart of Haywards Heath we have a remnant of a very special sort of flower-rich grassland which has almost disappeared from the surrounding countryside. It was associated with old hay meadows and is now nationally scarce because modern farming methods rely on crops of fast growing, sown grass which is cut early for silage. The butterflies, bees  and wildflowers of hay meadows, which were once abundant, have become rare.  We are looking after ‘God’s Acre’ by careful management to ensure that there is a home for these creatures and so that  the residents of Haywards Heath may enjoy their beauty.

The Upper and Lower Churchyards both contain flower-rich grassland, and are managed to encourage the special perennial  flowers of hay meadows.  At the end of summer the long grass is cut and the grass kept mown until early the following  year, carefully avoiding the tiny flowering spikes of Autumn Lady’s Tresses which appear from July to September. The cuttings are carefully raked up and removed to prevent the build-up of nutrients in the soil, which would encourage coarse grasses at the expense of the wildflowers.