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St Mary's February 2018 Magazine

St Mary's February 2018 Magazine

Finedon Branch Royal

Finedon Branch Royal Anglian Regiment Association. Calling all ex serviceman who served in the Northamptonshire Regiment or any battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment. Finedon Branch meet the second Friday of the month at 8pm in the Finedon Conservative Club. We extend a warm welcome to anyone who served in the above Regiments. Come along and join us catch up and perhaps meet some old comrades at the functions and visits we arrange. We hold several functions a year. Join us for a chat, a pint and more information on what we do. We also welcome any veterans who wishes to join us for a chat at any of our meetings. Hope to see some old comrades and veterans shortly. Ray Ogle Finedon Branch. Wildlife and St Mary’s Church, Finedon Active nature conservation is a relatively young pursuit, at perhaps 150 years old it is much younger than St Mary’s. It is a response not only to the depravations that people have wrought on wildlife but also to the acceleration of that loss. But nature conservation is a positive and hopeful response. Most of us recognise that wildlife as part of a healthy natural environment is vital to our own health and wellbeing. Whether you delight in wildflowers, butterflies, birdsong, the occasional glimpse of an urban fox, enjoy watching a red kite sail overhead, or just enjoy strawberries, clean water and somewhere peaceful to walk the dog, the role that wildlife plays in our lives is complex and vital. Modern life hasn’t always recognised the value that wildlife plays, or how delicate it is. Just as we would be literally nowhere without our ancestors, every plant and animal alive today is the product of countless generations before it. Therefore, every local loss today cuts the thread of history in a way that can’t be easily retied. In an increasingly pressured world, this makes remaining pockets of wildlife – such as in churchyards – hugely valuable, both in their own right and as islands of hope for recolonization in safer times. The remaining wild areas and nature reserves themselves are the bedrock of modern nature conservation. An old hedgerow or ancient woodland, for example, is an incredibly rich habitat for a vast array of species, far more so than anything planted more recently. In general, the larger and older a habitat is, the better it will be for wildlife and therefore the harder it will be to replace. And what has all this to do with St Mary’s and the Wildlife Trust? For the most part, the church estate, and older churchyards in particular, have escaped some of the most damaging practices. Many have never had fertilisers or pesticides used and most haven’t had their land ploughed, for example. As a result, while surrounding land may have been built on, had its trees removed or been farmed, many churchyards remain oases of natural calm and wildlife. There is, perhaps, a natural fit between wildlife and older churches and their grounds that is becoming

increasingly important for the creatures that live there. I say there is “perhaps” this natural fit because, as with so many of the remaining pockets of habitat that now support a disproportionate amount of our wildlife, that churches like St Mary’s are still interesting is often through luck and an individual’s judgment rather than intent. Church grounds have often been looked after by sympathetic volunteers with a gardener’s sensibilities rather than a naturalist’s. When these coincide, good things occur for all users of the ground, human and wild alike. At the Wildlife Trust, we’d like to remove some of this element of luck, to help make wildlife more secure in all those places where the land is looked after mainly for other purposes. One way we have done this is to draw up an awards scheme for churchyards in Northamptonshire, and we hope that St Mary’s will take part. We will help survey the church grounds to find out what lives there and to see if there are any real hidden gems – there often are – and will help the church to draw up a management plan that keeps those gems in mind. That can be as simple as leaving some parts unmown or restricting access to particular corners during the breeding season. By making this a planned process, it not only makes things easier for wildlife, but also for the people doing the graft. It will also explain to visitors what the plan is and therefore why an area may look a little untidy for a time. On a brief visit in January, with the year’s first snowdrops and primroses peeking through the old graveyard, it is obvious that St Mary’s already has a lot going for it in terms of wildlife. The older gravestones are covered in all sorts of lichens, the old trees and ivy are great for birds and insects and the comfrey in the old churchyard will be brilliant for pollinating bees. It was also nice to see benches for people to sit and enjoy their environment. There is more that could be done quite simply – bird and bat boxes on the trees, perhaps a herb border with lavender for bees and butterflies, and maybe even thinking about mowing the grass in rotation to allow a few of the shorter wildflowers to set seed, while still keeping the whole place tidy. Our churches and their grounds are key parts of our cultural, natural and religious heritage. Bringing these traditions together via our Churchyard Awards seems like an ideal way to celebrate some of the best things we have to offer the world. We hope that St Mary’s will take part soon. Mark Boyd, Matt Johnson and Lisa Rowley, The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants. Women’s World Day of Prayer. This year the Women’s World Day of Prayer will be held in St Mary’s Church on Friday 2nd March at 2.00 pm Everyone welcome. Gilbert & Sullivan The Arts Barn Gilbert and Sullivan group are coming to St Mary’s Church on Friday 20th April to give a concert. 13

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