‘Learn simple ways to create a haven for wildlife, for heritage, for people.’

Dr. Harold Mytum, of Liverpool University, is one of many inspiring academics speaking at Caring for God’s Acre’s (CfGA) 'The Beautiful Burial Ground' conference, which is a special one-day event, taking place on Saturday 28th September, at the Thame Barns Centre in the picturesque market town of Thame, Oxfordshire.

Dr. Harold Mytum is Professor of Archaeology and Director of the Centre for Manx studies at the University of Liverpool. His many publications include Mortuary Monuments and Burial Grounds of the Historic Period (2004) and he has been a member of the York DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches) for 30 years. Dr. Mytum’s depth of knowledge of graveyards and burial sites makes an excellent addition to the conference’s workshops, as Caring for God’s Acre champions the conservation of burial sites of all kinds.

As well as Dr. Mytum, the event includes a talk and workshop on yew trees and tree care from internationally renowned tree expert Russell Ball, founder of Fund4Trees and the President of the International Society of Arboriculture for the UK and Ireland Chapter (ISA UKI Chapter) – to name but a few of his extensive list of achievements.

Natalie Merry, the secretary for the Oxford DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches), will be giving a talk on caring for built heritage, whilst Chris Mason, the coordinator for the Cherwell Swifts Conservation Project, will be running a workshop on swifts and their conservation.

Other highlights of the event include a talk from Fiona Danks, from Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (toe2) and a workshop by Gabriel Byng from ChurchGuides.

The conference will also include talks and workshops from Caring for God’s Acre’s (CfGA) very own Sue Cooper, Andrea Gilpin and Harriet Carty, who collectively have over 20 years experience in churchyard and burial ground conservation.

A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Patsy Wood Trust is supporting Caring for God's Acre (CfGA) to run this conference to help people with the care of a church or chapel yard, cemetery or burial ground; new or old and of any faith. The conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in or responsibility for churchyards and burial sites and the natural and man made features contained within them. There is a helpful website at www.caringforgodscare.org.uk providing useful information on conservation management and the charity's activities.

To book a place at the conference call: 01588 673041.


There are over 12,000 burial grounds across England and Wales and it is well documented that they are a rich source of wildlife, often functioning as a sanctuary for flora and fauna which are rare and endangered elsewhere in the U.K. From song thrushes and swifts to hedgehogs, newts and slow worms, the biodiversity of these areas also encompasses species of international importance, for instance, Yew trees and bumblebees. They are also important for their historic man-made structures such as monuments and memorials, boundary walls, lychgates, preaching crosses and mausalea. This varied interest makes them ideal places for learning and for community activity such as practical conservation work and recording of the stonework and wildlife habitats. Caring for God’s Acre produces a special Churchyard and Burial Ground Action pack full of useful information on a wide range of topics to help people with their local sites. The pack can be downloaded from the website free of charge or purchased as a pack from Caring for God’s Acre.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 30,000 projects, allocating £4.7 billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk

Editors' note - For further information contact Sue Cooper, Caring for God's Acre, 11 Drover's House, Craven Arms, Shropshire SY9 5DF. Tel: 01588 673041.

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Out of hours Tel: 01588 630037 Mobile: 07891470607

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