For many years until her move from the village Deidre Coburn was interested in making the churchyard into a wildlife garden attracting many species of birds, butterflies and insects. When she moved she was happy to ‘hand the reins’ to Jeanette Smith who has lovingly tended the project for the last 17 years.

In the above picture of the seat known as ‘Jeanette’s Bower’ she trained willows to meet in the middle making a magnificent showpiece to the wildlife garden.  The willows were originally sourced from the Clapps Mead Playing Field by her partner Rob and came to Jeanette as mere little shoots. With her usual ‘green fingers’ she bought them to life.

The two Rowan trees featured below also originally were very small saplings – one merely a stick. The larger one was donated by Sue McDougal which she had cultivated herself and the smaller one was part of The Woodland Trust initiative 2015 where many trees were planted in and around the village and on East Cliff at Seatown. These are the Rowans today – in full splendour and again lovingly tended by Jeanette over the last seven years.

wildlife garden wildlife garden


The Dorset Wildlife Trust in conjunction with The Diocese of Salisbury initiated a scheme to ‘celebrate’ these beautiful wildlife churchyards,  and awards were made each year.  After many years of ‘Best Managed’, ‘Highly Commended’ in 2014 and 2015 Chideock won the ‘Silver’ award and much to Jeanette’s delight eventually GOLD in 2016 and 2017.  Sadly the scheme was then discontinued but all the Awards and photographs can be seen in the Church porch.

wildlife garden  wildlife garden


Take a moment to rest or wander around the paths passing the ancient headstones or Chideock villagers of the past, wonder at the vast array of wildlife flowers.

Feel the peace and tranquility that envelops you as you walk through listening to the birdsong.

wildlife garden wildlife garden

As you leave by the southern exit you will witness one of the most majestic centuries old Yew Trees – it’s bough a sight to behold.

  wildlife garden


This is such a wondrous place so worthy of a visit and to remember Jeanette who gave so much of her time and energy into maintaining and managing this beautiful garden. A section of the Poem by Denise Lee Cuthbert 2015 spells out the beauty of this place.


My Garden of Peace

Grant me the peace of a beautiful garden

where grows the celandine and pure white

daisy. Allow the primrose to grow by hedge

 and wall and the dog rose to clamber where

it will.  A place of safety for God’s own

creation, a refuge from the barrenness of a

modern world.

Let me rest between the lords-and-ladies

with field bindweed and honeysuckle softening

my grave. Leave me to rest amongst  the gently

 swaying grasses, their soft sigh sounding

as did my last breath on earth.


I may no longer hear the bee’s gentle hum,

but remember well the taste of honey from

wild hedgerow flowers. I pity tomorrow’s

children for a memory they may never have.

Give God’s own creation a chance of life to

Live once more amongst these silent stones.


Three donations have been made so that Jeanette’s work can continue and if you would like to donate please contact the Church Warden,Val Hunt or Diane Benjamin or via the website. Volunteers are always sought so if you could find a few hours to help in the wildlife garden please contact any of the above.