LAKE District churchyards are a haven for ‘wriggly, fluffy and feathery’ animals, according to a group set up to improve the environment around Windermere.

Windermere Reflections wants to join with churches to explore ‘treasure troves’ of wildlife, in churchyards.

“They can be amazing habitats for birds, wildlife, trees and plants,” said project officer Debbie Binch.

“They have often been undisturbed for many years, and can be treasure troves of bio-diversity, but there are ways to make them better still.”

The project has been launched by heritage lottery-funded Windermere Reflections to help lower the effect churches have on the natural world.

They are offering free energy and water surveys to all churches in the catchment area of Windermere, with the aim of lowering financial and environmental costs.

“The offer includes Langdale and Grasmere, Bowness, Sawrey, Hawkshead, Finsthwaite and Troutbeck as well as Windermere and Ambleside,” said Ms Binch.

“Cumbria Rural Enterprise will carry out surveys and produce reports identifying opportunities and technologies that could be implemented in order to reduce costs and carbon emissions.

“We are also providing a list of ‘bite-size’ sustainable actions , and the Catholic Church of Mater Amabilis in Ambleside has already taken up this offer.”

Fr Kevan Dorgan, at the Ambleside church, has put up a bat box in the church garden, following a wildlife survey by Janet Ashton.

“When all the reports are done, I will invite Cumbria Rural Enterprise to run a meeting for the churches to look at ways forward,” added Ms Binch.

Churches interested in joining the scheme should contact Ms Binch on 01539 434 401.