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.