Templeton URC in Pembrokeshire has a burial ground with a small ancient meadow. They have recently discovered that it has some rare species of plants and waxcap fungi – thanks to a local ecologist. The plants and fungi are rare because they are weak and cannot compete with modern grasses or in cultivated soil. As the meadow area has been largely undisturbed for many generations these rare plants can grow and thrive. The waxcap can also thrive because of the unique microclimate in southwest Wales (mild and wet).
With the aid of grant from Pembroke Association of Voluntary Services the church was able to celebrate Love Your Burial week on June 11 by showcasing the meadow to local people. A seat and noticeboard overlooking the meadow was purchased to enable the enjoyment of this unique outdoor outside space.
A narrow path was cut around the meadow to enable people to walk around and see the plants for themselves. They were helped by small wooden stake labels highlighting the species. There was also an history hunt to discover the names of people on the gravestones. The church served strawberries with cream or ice cream and light refreshments. About sixty people came during the afternoon to the visit the chapel and grounds.
The plants change with species appearing throughout the spring and summer. There are wild violets, primroses and celandine scattered all over the grounds in the spring. When the spring flowers have finished and set seed, we must wait and see what the summer holds! This summer has been very dry but wildflowers were visible in June.
Late last autumn the waxcap fungi appeared (they grow from the ground not on wood). These can only occur in ancient grassland which never been ploughed or fertilised. We are waiting to see what will come up during the rest of the summer before the beautiful waxcap reappears.
With thanks to John Hayton