Churchyard Project

St. Michael’s Churchyard Project

To become more welcoming for wildlife and people.

The first stage was to make our churchyard safer by protecting the drop behind the church on the north side. This drop is several metres deep, and was guarded only by a small wall, low enough in places for an unwary person to step over. No more!
We were delighted to welcome group of 10 young volunteers, with their leaders, from Community@NE66. They spent a morning during Half Term planting a double row of about 100 hedge saplings – hawthorn, dogwood and holly – above the drop. They were well watered at the time, and the weather since has continued to keep them wet, so they should thrive and provide a pleasant barrier to keep visitors safe, and be welcoming to wildlife as well.

The next stage, weather permitting on Saturday 27th November*, is to welcome the volunteers back to plant several hundred wildflower bulbs. These have already been delivered, and we look forward to a colourful display of snowdrops, wild daffodils, aconites and English bluebells in the flat area above the slope. In time these should provide food for birds and insects, and contribute to the diversity of wildlife in our area.

*The bulb planting has had to be been postponed due to the poor weather which is forecast and the Arwen storm damage. Weather permitting, this is now due for Thursday morning 9th December from 10-12am.

For more information please contact Sue Allen (details in Gateway magazine).

Our thanks go to Northumbria Hedgehog Rescue for paying us a visit on 26th November 2021 and confirming that all was well.

On Sunday 28th November 2021 services were cancelled due to Storm Arwen damage in the churchyard but are now resumed thanks to work by the team from Northumberland Estates.
The fallen Yew at the entrance has new been removed and a pathway has been reinstated through the fallen Fir by the east wall.

This is perhaps a reminder of the churchyard Boom tree which was brought down by a storm on Ash Wednesday in 1836:
The Boom Tree

For the young at heart – have a look at the fallen trees – can you tell how old they are ?
Fallen Trees

(Clues: The Fir, which was split off the main trunk, is a bit older than the Queen, the Yew could be around a quarter of a century older than that.)