‘Chinnor Churches Go Wild!’ is a new wildlife project based in the churches around Chinnor; and is the successor to the Chiltern Gateway Project.

As Christians, we believe that God made the world, and that he cares deeply about all his creation. God has called us to love him, love one another and to be responsible stewards of the natural world; so, caring for creation is an integral part of loving our neighbours and following God faithfully.

The aims of the project are:
  • to understand the habitats and wildlife in each of the individual churchyards and grounds;
  • to improve these habitats in order to increase species abundance on an ongoing basis for the benefit of wildlife and the local community;
  • to target at least one declining or threatened species for specific action;
  • to increase the number of people engaging in nature and the depth of their engagement, through on-site activity and involvement in the national ‘Eco Church’ award scheme.
Bluebells in Aston Rowant Nature Reserve, part of Chinnor Churches Go Wild!
Bluebells in Aston Rowant Nature Reserve, part of Chinnor Churches Go Wild!
St Andrews Church, Chinnor, Oxfordshire

St Andrews Church, Chinnor, Oxfordshire

‘Chinnor Churches Go Wild!’ is an ecumenical project which has commitment from all six churches in and around Chinnor, and has a steering group with representatives from each of the churches. Rev Maggie Thorne – Rector to the United Parish of Chinnor, Aston Rowant, Sydenham and Crowell – is chairing the project.

The churches involved in the project are:

  • St. Andrew’s Church, Chinnor (OX39 4PG)
  • Chinnor Community Church (OX39 4DH)
  • Chinnor Methodist Church (OX39 4PZ)
  • St. Mary's Church, Sydenham (OX39 4NB)
  • St. Peter & St. Paul Church, Aston Rowant (OX49 5SW)
  • The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Church, Crowell (OX39 4RR)
Nigel Hopper of A Rocha UK, advertising Eco-Church

Nigel Hopper of A Rocha UK, advertising Eco-Church

Churches have a huge part to play in caring for God’s earth; and no matter what sort of building or grounds each church has, there are practical actions that can be taken to help protect and care for the natural world. Going forward, each church involved in the ‘Chinnor Churches Go Wild!’ project will aim to take part in the national ‘Eco Church’ award scheme; working towards gaining prestigious Eco Church Awards at Bronze, Silver or Gold level. Indeed, after completing the ‘Eco Church’ survey in March, the project team were thrilled that St. Andrew’s Church has gained an Eco Church Bronze Award.

The project team are currently in discussions with local wildlife experts with a view to undertaking reptile, plant, bird, tree and lichens surveys in the different churchyards over the coming months. In addition, we plan several events each year, hold environmental services and our partners have regular work parties if you would like to get your hands dirty. For more information or to be involved in any of these activities, please email uk@arocha.org.