April 2024: Space for Shorebirds

At the time of writing, we have pairs of ringed plovers setting up territories all along the coast. They are battling it out with other breeding pairs for access to the best nesting locations where their eggs will be safe, and their chicks will find rich food to help them grow fast.

Many of you will have noticed that there has been large amounts of erosion this winter. Noticeably, many sand dunes have been weathered back to steep cliffs and we have lost a lot of the sand that usually makes up the gentle slope of the beach. It has been scoured out by the powerful crashing waves of the remarkable number of storms we have experienced this winter.    

Two plover eggs well camouflaged amongst the pebbles
A tiny ringed plover chick that hatched last summer
Unfortunately, this loss of beach height could be a worrying development for the birds looking to build their nests. Ringed plovers need to nest out in the open on bare patches of sand or shingle, where they make a small bowl-shaped scrape in which to lay their eggs. As such, these birds rely on open patches of beach that are high enough that they stay above the waves even on the highest tides. The loss of sand this year means that many suitable sites are now completely submerged by the tide, meaning the birds are under more pressure than usual to claim a safe nesting location.  

To give these birds a helping hand, remember to look out for our signs and fenced areas when on the beach and give them space so as not to disturb the birds. When walking past the nesting sites we also ask people to keep their dogs close by and watch out for chicks that will regularly wander outside the fences in search of food. Thanks for giving space to our shorebirds!

Count on Nature

The churchyard has been closed for burials since 1856 but it remains a beautiful green space in which flora and fauna flourish.  Our tree planting, wilding and wild life homes have, we hope, enhanced the area. Sparklers have contributed to the Eco Group June 2023 Count on Nature survey in the churchyard – thank you to Sparklers and to all volunteers. An increase in flora and fauna on the 2022 survey was recorded.
Have a look at the results here.

Solar Panel Update

The PCC has approved the solar panel project for the southside flat roof of the church based on the latest information supplied by Maden Eco, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Northumberland County Council Planning department has checked that the panels will be hidden and approved the project in principle.  Please email suephillips701@gmail.com if you would like more information or see the video on our YouTube channel.


Bee House


The new bee colony is enjoying the Church Bee House and thriving according to the bee keeper.  New plants for House and Shed camouflage have their ‘toes down’.  Thank you to all for the watering of plants and new trees which are flourishing; the memorial tree is looking particularly fine.


Climbing plants to cover the Bee House are beginning to grow, and similar planting is intended for our very useful shed also now in the northwest corner of the churchyard.  The Eco Group would like to thank the Vicar and the members of the Fabric Group who have given their time and expertise to this project.  The cost of the project has been met through sponsorship obtained from Jewson’s, Berwick-upon-Tweed, the Book Sale and the Benefact Trust.  The building work has been completed through immense goodwill.

Bat Walk

A Bat Walk around Berwick-upon-Tweed, led by Northumberland Bat Group, hosted by BPC, will begin in the churchyard at 8pm on Friday 25th August.  If you would like to join please sign the sheet at the back of the church (numbers are limited).

Keep on recycling!

Members of the congregation have been recycling empty tablet blister packs.
These would normally end up in landfill sites, but Superdrug are now acting as a drop off point for them to be recycled.  We have just dropped off our first consignment!
 To help the scheme,  just drop your used blister packs in the box at the back of church.  Every little helps. 
As part of the church’s Eco initiatives, children from Holy Trinity Church of England First School planted an oak tree in memory of Queen Elizabeth II on 28th February. It was one of a number of native British saplings funded by Northumberland County Council and planted to replace older trees and to add to the biodiversity of the churchyard.

A Living, Green Churchyard

2022 surveys have shown an interesting biodiversity in our beautiful churchyard and we believe this will develop further through the following projects completed this year:




Bird feeders; well used by a wide variety of small birds and, of course, the occasional squirrel.

Bird boxes made by parishioners and local school children.

A recycled owl box has been place carefully by a local expert and a webcam is trained on this area.

Hedgehog homes and bug hostels designed and made by the pupils of Longridge Towers School.

A sharp eyed parishioner has captured one resident hedgehog on camera. We hope to see more on our webcam.

A bat box is now in the far southeast corner.

Wilding has been increased with the creation of an area for wild flowers.

Broken branches, and other debris from this year’s storms and gales, have been added to the north perimeter bramble areas, to create additional habitats for wildlife.

Sixteen different species of birds have been seen in the churchyard in 2022; we expect this to increase following the November planting of seventeen native species trees, generously funded by Northumberland County Council. These have been planted and staked around the churchyard, with an additional group around a central Oak in the northeast corner. We hope this will develop into a haven for wildlife and and be enjoyed by all visitors.

Plans for 2023 include:

Bee Hives
A local bee keeping expert will be getting this project started in a secured area of the churchyard. Essential pollinators, vital to the food chain for all life, these bee hives will be a contribution to the biodiversity of the local area. There is an ecclesiastical tradition of bee keeping with bees even being painted into stained glass windows, and the bee hives discovered at Rosslyn Chapel are of particular interest. We are very pleased, therefore, to be following the lead of other churches around the country who keep bee hives.


Recycled Seating
For rest and contemplation for all visitors; we hope to design, make and build these in partnership with the Berwick Youth Project.


Log Cycle Rack
Designed using a fallen log, this will be a minimum carbon footprint cycle rack useful for cyclists using the Parish Centre and Church.


Bog garden
For plants and wildlife in the lower ground of the southeast corner.


Water butts
For conservation and the watering of our seventeen saplings.


Organised Composting
Our present composting will become more organised and rotational from 2023 to nourish the Flower Guild garden and the new trees and shrubs.

Plant a tree

A Carbon Neutral Church


By 2030 we intend to be carbon neutral.
Carbon emissions have been reduced and energy saved through the installation of the following:


Energy efficient boilers
Double and secondary glazing
Draught excluders and double doors
Energy efficient lighting with sensors
Thermostat monitoring and control


Solar panels, secondary glazing, and directional green heating appliances are the next steps in our carbon neutral strategy. These have been researched and site surveys and viability reports have been made. We hope 2023 will see both permission and funding obtained for these projects.


Walking the Talk!
– We are recycling blister packs, composting used coffee grounds and teabags, and using ethically sourced and sustainable products, in the Church and Parish Centre, as much as is affordable within the present budget.

– Members of the congregation join the local litter picks, most regularly on Little Beach.


The Parish Church opened the Berwick Great Big Green Week in September 2022 with an A Rocha green church presentation, nature trail activities for families, and a Tranquillity Walk in the churchyard which highlighted both its beauty and its history.


Further church Eco events are being planned for 2023 – watch this space!

Oh joy of Life, oh joy of creation 


in all your beautiful manifestation, 


in which we are participating 


in all your glory and all your sorrow 


where hope anticipates tomorrow. 


Oh joy of birds, oh joy of trees 


oh joy of butterflies and bees 


oh joy of everything which breathes. 


Oh Mother of all, who gave us birth 


 inspire us too to nurture your earth. Amen


Gabrielle Ayerst

Our latest resident!

Photographs courtesy of Sue Phillips

Photographs courtesy of Maurice McNeeley

Whoooo’s this for?


A new home has been installed in the churchyard which we hope will attract a Barn Owl, as they like the coastline. The owl box is recycled in materials and in use (it has come from a farm that didn’t want it any more). It may also attract Stock Doves or a Kestrel … or a Jackdaw!


Photographs courtesy of Maurice McNeely

The Apprentice Challenge

Young people aged 12 and 13 from Longridge Towers School were set a challenge along the lines of The Apprentice to identify an environmental need for Holy Trinity Churchyard, design and produce a solution and present it to a team of judges from the Eco group.   

It was very difficult selecting winners, but we now have a superb array of bug hotels and hedgehog houses/shelters to join the bug hotels made by Sparklers a few weeks ago. They will be strategically placed in the churchyard once we’ve all had chance to admire them. It was encouraging to see that they had all been made from recycled materials.

The winning team were presented with a webcam, which will be placed inside their hedgehog house and live streamed so the team can watch how it’s being used. Does their model remind you of anywhere?!

Reverend Ray Simpson has kindly donated and planted a Rowan tree to begin our churchyard regeneration project. As it grows we hope the Rowan berries will attract a variety of birds, especially Waxwings.

A wide selection of native trees were planted on Saturday 5th November, including Oak, Rowan, Hawthorn, Holly, Lime, Alder, Crab Apple, Wild Cherry, Hazel, Yew and Silver Birch, plus a Sweet Chestnut and a selection of shrubs.  The Crab Apple trees look particularly beautiful at present among the smaller trees surrounding a central Oak in the northeast corner.


The Eco Group are very grateful for the work of the volunteers involved in the digging and planting and for the generosity of Northumberland County Council in funding the entire project. Further volunteer help with the regular watering of the saplings would be hugely appreciated. Helen Mason is creating a rota and if this is something you might be willing to consider, please leave your name and contact details on the form at the back of the church or contact us.


In church the Blister Pack Recycling Box situated in the church foyer is filling fast – thank you to everyone for supporting this recycling project.  

Beach Cleans



One serious threat to wildlife is plastic in the sea.  From discarded fishing line entwining birds, fish and other marine life to tiny pieces that build up in the stomachs of marine creatures, small plastics are a serious problem.


Almost every weekend, a group meets for an hour or so to collect waste from our nearest beach.


Prayer for the environment


from the late great Desmond TuTu


Let oceans of justice flow, May we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother Earth. We pray for our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth;  May they act with compassion and courage, and lead us in the path of justice for the sake of our children and our children’s children. 

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Eco Survey.

The results are as follows:


– 67% of respondents compost garden waste


– 100% donate unwanted items to charity shops


– 90% purchase locally grown produce when available 





– 67% purchase environmentally friendly products.


– 100% use energy saving light bulbs


– 60% walk, cycle or use public transport each week

We are registered with the A Rocha charity as an Eco Church. A Rocha UK (Portuguese for the rock)  is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world and committed to equipping Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment. The scheme provides tools and ideas to help churches integrate our concern for environmental issues into worship and teaching, management of church buildings and land, community engagement and lifestyle.


If you’d like to know more please contact Anne Horne, our environmental champion. Anne is a retired biology teacher with qualifications in Environmental Education, who has been working to raise awareness in young people since the 1980’s.


If anyone wants to know more about our work in the parish, please contact us to get in touch with Anne.


It’s up to each of us to love and to serve God’s planet, God’s creation, God’s people, in a Christ like way.  To ensure that our children, our grandchildren and their children can enjoy the continued beauty of our Earth.

Out and About

– Rural and coastal – what could be better! 

Leave those chores, enjoy Northumberland!


– Take time in our beautiful churchyard – admire the wild periphery; count the birds enjoying the feeders; breathe in the wonderful Northumberland air; be still in this sacred space.


At Home:

– Much in the news: “Vampire devices!” Televisions, microwaves, washing machines, printers…….. anything on standby is costing money. British Gas research estimates an average household saving of £147 a year; the Energy Saving Trust estimates a saving of £55. Figures vary but as prices increase savings can be made by switching off appliances at the plug.



Bird Boxes

Bird Boxes

Bird nesting boxes made from recycled wood have been placed in the churchyard, along with a bird feeding station. 

We hope Sparklers will be involved in the expansion of this project.

Litter picking

Litter picking

There are regular litter picks on our local beaches.  Keep an eye on ‘Friends of Little Pier Beach‘ for regular updates about organised litter picks. Please bring gardening or work gloves.