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Boyton, Capel St Andrew
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Cowslips and Gravestones
Churchyards have become havens for wildlife.  Like private gardens, our 
churchyards have escaped the herbicides, ploughing and intensive 
agriculture that has made life so hard for birds, mammals, wild flowers 
and insects that once were common.  The Norman Domesday Survey in 
1086 listed about 400 churches in Suffolk.  There are now almost 500 
and their combined churchyards would make a very fine nature reserve 
indeed.  Age and continuity of care is everything, or very nearly so, in 
defining quality in wildlife habitat, and this is what separates the 
churchyard from the average private wildlife garden, no matter how 
many bird feeders, Buddleias and nest boxes.  Old trees, old timbers, 
old brickwork, old headstones and old grassland combine with seclusion 
and quiet to make churchyards good for wildlife. 
These features - unchanging in our lifetimes - offer the stability and 
continuity that many species need.  Good examples include infinitely 
slow-growing lichens on a 17th century headstone; toadstools that 
appear once in twenty years, flower-decked anthills in old grassland, 
generations of rooks cawing in their swaying treetop citadel, and yew 
trees that may be 600 years old. 
Suffolk Wildlife Trust encourages local churches to care for the 
wildlife in their churchyards.  Designated by the Trust as a Wildlife 
Sanctuary, the ancient churchyard at nearby Ramsholt is well worth a 
    Stonecrop on the ancient 
     ruins of Covehithe church
   Comma on Ivy flowers
          Slow Worm
       Wild Flowers in 
  Ramsholt churchyard
          Song thrush
     Wildlife Sanctuary