Wrecclesham Churchyard Project

St Peter’s Church in Wrecclesham was built in 1840 and burials in the immediate churchyard close to it commenced shortly afterwards. In 1886 another burial area was opened across the road and this became a second part of the churchyard complete with its small lychgate. A war memorial was added in 1923 and the whole site is now a prominent feature on School Hill. It is still in use for burials which are likely to continue for about two more years.

The attention of BCG was first drawn to this churchyard when Martin Angel and Myung-Hye Chun carried out a moth trapping there in 2023. This was followed by a suggestion made at the AGM in September that year that the site offered scope for a biodiversity enhancement project that would help to extend the green corridors connecting with The Bourne area.

After discussion it was agreed that contact should be made with the Vicar of St Peter’s to further explore the possibilities. This was quickly done and resulted in BCG making a formal proposal that, after carrying out simple tasks such as clearing the accumulated litter that was visible all over the site, BCG would guide biodiversity enhancement work to be done by a group of Wrecclesham volunteers. When this was agreed by the Parish Church Council, BCG took immediate steps to draw up an outline plan with the aim of generating momentum for measures that would assist wildlife in spring 2024 as well as starting the process of setting up the new local group.

No time was wasted and a Start-Up session involving BCG members and Wrecclesham volunteers was held on 27th January 2024 with a total of 20 taking part. This was successful in collecting a large amount of litter, installing 3 woodcrete nest boxes and clearing a space for a compost area.

In the following month further discussions were held which led the Vicar to invite Martin Angel to speak about the Biodiversity project in Church on Sunday 18th February 2024 prior to a follow-up work session on site on 25th February. An invitation was also received from the Wrecclesham History Project for Noel Moss to talk about the Churchyard project in March. This was accepted as an opportunity to explore more fully the heritage aspects of the new project as well as generating further local interest in the project. This is important because, the intention is that the Wrecclesham Conservation Group, once it is fully formed and set up, will take over all the planning, organisation and practical work needed to keep the site in excellent condition with BCG ready to support, assist and advise as necessary

Two main stages of work are scheduled for the remainder of 2024 as funding becomes available. These are a Bioblitz to be held over the weekend of 22-23 June and a programme of wildlife-friendly planting. This will include perennial wildflowers and spring-flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, daffodils and grape hyacinths.

One other objective is to make all graves on the site readily accessible to families and visitors It is also understood that parallel work by the Church will include restoration of the lychgate and repair of the War Memorial steps.

A Great Start to the Year

Woodland task

Opening Work Session.  Our work programme for 2024 started on a bright sunny morning on 7th January with a well attended session in Burnt Hill Wood led by our Waverley Ranger, Vicky Keller. We were delighted to welcome new members, Jean and Mike Curry with their son Matt and also Ellis Bowman, a new D of E candidate. Together we cut out a mass of laurel and other invasive shrubs at the summit of the wood and were impressed with how Vicky got the bonfire going at the first attempt and kept it alight throughout the morning.


Social Event. After that strenuous morning it was a great pleasure for everyone to meet up again in the afternoon to enjoy a Social in St Martin’s hall, the first such event since 2019. 30 members and Friends together with some invited guests were able to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere as well as the refreshments and the fascinating Wildlife Quiz prepared by Martin Angel for which the three winners were presented with attractive books by Heather Angel generously donated by the author. In a fitting conclusion our Chairman shared a few thoughts about the past year and an outline of what lies ahead in the year ahead.     

Essential Work. In January, a small group led by Charles Fearnley with his folding ladder completed the annual task of cleaning all our 20 bird nesting boxes positioned throughout The Bourne. We also responded to a request from neighbours to clear a small fallen tree from The Bourne Stream.


A New Project. At the end of January we also managed to squeeze in an opening work session for a project we are helping with in the picturesque Churchyard of St Peter’s Church in Wrecclesham. This was a very satisfying exercise because a large amount of embedded litter was removed and three new nest boxes installed. We are now working hard to get a new conservation group formed there to undertake biodiversity tasks in that part of Farnham.

A Rewarding Time and a New Champion

As usual, during the summer, we worked hard on our sites to make sure all was well for the In Bloom judging in July. This year those preparations had a new edge to them because the Middle Bourne Lane garden had been entered in the ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ competition for the first time as well as contributing to Farnham’s entry in the Large Town category.

In recent days we have found out the results. In the case of ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ this meant sending a team of four to the Wisley Garden Centre where we were delighted to learn that we had been awarded the top grade of ‘Outstanding’.

Our rewards did not end there because overall Farnham had its best ever year in the competition, earning gold medals and ‘Best in Category’ in all sections they entered including a Gold for Biodiversity. We had of course played our small part in those achievements and were able to attend the town’s evening event at Badshot Lea Garden Centre to be presented with a Certificate of Excellence. Additionally Martin Angel was made Farnham’s Biodiversity Champion.

Noel Moss, Myung Hye Chun and Martin Angel receiving the Outstanding Award at Wisley.

We are very pleased indeed at the results this year and acknowledge that they are due to the hard work of members on all our sites throughout the year. THANK YOU ALL! 

The Creative Bourne

The national theme for Heritage Open Days 2023 was” Creativity” and our Group decided to support this by giving a Talk on the subject and conducting a Guided Walk both of which took place in the week commencing 11th September. Advertised by the Farnham Society in their HODs leaflet, both were well attended and all the indications are that they were well received by members of the public who attended.

A good deal of research was necessary for both the subject matter and the ideal route for the Walk in the general area of Bourne Wood. It soon became apparent that historically The Bourne has been a very creative place and continues to be so today. This was described in detail in the Talk which, appropriately, was given in the Church of St Thomas –on-The Bourne, itself a good example of creative architecture which directly led to the creative music of the fine Choi that is still keeping the tradition alive today. Another musical example concerned the nationally famous Rock Choir created by Caroline Redman Lusher in The Bourne in 2005.

Creativity of a collective nature for the community included the building in 1892 of Taylor’s Hall (today often called the Scout Hut) as a social club for young people, and the setting up of Woodlarks Campsite followed later by the Woodlarks Centre, both aimed at easing the lot of disabled people. In 1940, when our nation was in grave danger, a different sort of creativity came into play with the construction of a line of defences against a possible invasion, the results of which can still be seen in the Wey valley in the area of Waverley Abbey and elsewhere.

The Talk concluded by clearly demonstrating that creativity is still alive and well in The Bourne as shown by the Garden Designs of Cathy Stewart, the history books of Bishop Christopher Herbert, the paintings of Yasmin Osborne and the wildlife photography of Heather Angel.

The Creative Walk commenced on a warm Saturday morning at the busy Cricket Pavilion area and set off along Dene Lane and into the calm of Bourne Wood, taking in along the way Lobswood Manor,the former home of Sir James Barrie, and a tremendous view of the RSPBs Farnham Heath reserve. A stop was made to view and discuss the use of the Wood for filming and there was another stop in Sable Wood to hear from the owner, Bruce Callander, about how it is managed for the benefit of the environment and members of the public. On return to the Green a final stop was made in the Church of St Martin- By -The Green where Brian White had kindly provided some welcome refreshments and also introduced the walkers to this delightful village church.

The Group’s thanks go to all who helped prepare and deliver these two events including Simon Bradbury, Charles Fearnley, Noel Moss, Myung Hye Chun, Wendy Scoble and Clinton Bradshaw.

St. Martin by the Green
Taylor’s Hall
World War II bunker