The Bourne Conservation Group (BCG) took on responsibility ten years ago for maintaining the Old Churchyard in Vicarage Hill. This peaceful and historic site had fallen into neglect and become overgrown with invasive plants. Working at all times in consultation with the Vicar and Churchwardens to safeguard the many graves of former parishioners, BCG has cleared and restored the site so that it is now welcoming to visitors as well as wildlife.
One of BCG’s boldest decisions was to create a pond in a corner of the site. Ponds are very valuable for many forms of wildlife, particularly for frogs and newts which need to breed in ponds. So far as is known, it is the only pond in a churchyard in England. Unfortunately, it had become clear that the pond had been losing water to the detriment of the wildlife. So in late 2019 BCG drained it and seriously cut back the plants before relining it and laying fresh turf all round. Plants have been re-potted and reinstated.
None of this was easy work but was well accomplished by a small band of determined members of varying ages, as pictured. The interesting point that arises is that the cause of the water loss was never identified for sure! The easy part of the operation was refilling the pond which is now brim full of rainwater. The Group hopes that the frogs and newts are appreciative when they return in February – March. Those months are a particularly good time of year to visit the Old Churchyard as much of it is covered with a beautiful display of crocuses.
The BCG website has recently been enhanced with a photographic record of the changes that can be seen after the ten years work. This can be found at http://bourneconservation.org.uk/theoldchurchyard/