Working alongside Hythe Civic Society, we will be helping with a long-term project to maintain St Leonard’s Churchyard. It is a ‘closed’ churchyard and, as such, Shepway District Council is required to maintain it but with no specific funding to do so. The listed ragstone walls are damaged in places; several headstones and crosses have been damaged and have collapsed; some kerb stones around graves have become dislodged; and many sections of the grassed area contain self-seeded trees and shrubs that continue to do damage to graves and headstones. Moreover, several graves are hidden beneath undergrowth.
It is not the intention to create a churchyard in pristine condition – that would be entirely out of keeping in the Conservation Area – but merely to provide a risk-free, easily managed and attractive backdrop to our beautiful and historic church. In the longer term the churchyard surrounds would be improved further by repainting the rusted gates and railings.
This first two day works party is on 3rd and 4th May (see events for details) and will follow up on work over the previous two days by a tree surgeon. There will be a lot of vegetation waiting to be cleared , together with the whatever results from his tree work, and we will require a fair number of volunteers to sort out the material, as not all can be chipped, and then move it to the chipper which will be parked in North Road for the two days. Please bring suitable gardening gear and implements; feel free to join the works party for some or all of the two days.
Below are the objectives of the project:
|Provide a safe environment for users and visitors|
|Conserve listed walls, repair them and prevent further deterioration.|
|Return the area to a more manageable state|
|Improve the appearance of the area in general|
|Ensure the usability of the churchyard for generations to come|
|Remove overgrown vegetation to reveal headstones|
|Cut down and remove small shrubs|
|Reveal headstones where possible|
|Repair, prepare and paint railings to north and east boundaries|
Seek the permission of families (if traceable) to move damaged headstones and/or remove kerb stones
|Remove those that are unsafe or damaged to a suitable location elsewhere within the churchyard|
|Cut back trees where they compromise headstones|
|Cut back trees requiring regeneration|
|Remove trees which are in decline or compromising the health of other trees|
|Cut back and remove vegetation on and close to listed walls|