Environmental Vision

One of ambitions of the Transformation Project is that St Marys becomes a landmark site that promotes care for the environment and sustainability. It wants to do this both in the operations of St Mary’s church building and also in managing surrounding churchyard. The aim is to inspire and educate our community, especially younger people, that the future can be sustainable both for us and the natural world around us. It is after all our heritage. Using the very best of technology the Transformation Project wants to help the building of St Mary’s become as carbon neutral as possible. For a start the heating and lighting systems both need upgrading, with heating possibly changing to heat pumps. We are very excited about developing the ecology of the large churchyard, encouraging the increase and diversification plants, birds and other animals. By ensuring an open church the Transformation Project will enable St Marys to provide access facilities, shelter, and a range of information media that will encourage and inform visitors on the many aspects of environmental conservation and sustainability.

Churchyard and Conservation

Churchyards are becoming increasingly seen as excellent sites to promote ecology and education. St Mary’s is fortunate to have a large churchyard, accessible and yet fenced. We already have keen enthusiasts carrying out bird and fauna surveys and wish to develop this site along with our partners for the community to enjoy and savour. By providing facilities and information, the Transformation Project will enable St Marys in this endeavour.

As far back as 2000 conservation efforts have been made. See our guide here.

See what flowers and plants have already been identified here

If you’d like to get involved in any way please contact us.


Swift Conservation

Watching a small colony of swifts swooping and soaring to and from their nest crevices in the St Mary’s church tower is a sight to behold. Not only for little bird’s tremendous acrobatic ability, their speed and grace, but that now seeing swifts is becoming a rare sight.

The good news is that St Mary’s Transformation Project is taking on a new challenge; to become an emblem of Billingshurst swift conservation through improving nesting options, improving food source and finally through education and promotion. Better access into the belfry through a newly installed platform in the bellringing chamber as a consequence of the Transformation Project will enable the installation of swift nesting boxes below the spire area. Information boards will also be much more accessible within the church.

Read more

Further Advice


We are Billingshurst’s network for nature and the environment. Join us on Facebook at BilliGreen | Facebook or email BilliGreenGroup@gmail.com to share your ideas, raise concerns and suggest actions on local environmental issues.

We connect people to nature and the environment with practical, local actions here in Billingshurst.

Since we started in June 2020 we’ve been busy…

Nature recovery
We work with the Parish, District and County Councils as well as village organisations such as St Mary’s (with their environmental vision for the churchyard) to implement reduced mowing regimes and encourage the wildflowers, longer grasses and insects needed to support biodiversity and reduce pollution and flooding.

Plastic recycling
Our single use plastic recycling point at The Chapel, off Laker’s Meadow, is a joint venture with Terracycle and Sussex Green Living. The plastics are recycled into pellets which are then used to make products such as outdoor furniture like the bench on the corner of East Street and Silver Lane.

Past and ongoing projects also include:

Village litter picks
Supporting young people’s climate and nature leadership
Pesticide free town
Tree planting
Nature education
Planning and biodiversity
Homes for wildlife – birdboxes and batboxes
Presence at local events

We are a member of Billingshurst Community Partnership.

Sussex Wildlife Trust

Sussex Wildlife Trust is a regional environmental group offering a wide range of expertise and maintaining many projects throughout the county.

Teams have visited St Marys churchyard on several occasions and given advice on project development. We are part of a pilot project together with two other churches that hopefully will inspire the community to rewild, plant and encourage wildlife to thrive in our churchyards.

We look forward to working closely with SWT now and into the future for many years.




The Churchyard is accessible to all. We welcome everyone to enjoy the wildlife in this beautiful space. Please be mindful that the churchyard is a burial ground and afford it the respect it deserves and take care when walking around not to trip as some of the gravestones are hidden in the grass.

We hope soon to erect some information boards as to what to see, and to carry out regular surveys that will be viewable.

For a list of plants together with some pictures see here.

For a brief guide see here.

Children’s Nature Challenge

On its way!