Even covered by tarpaulin and scaffolding, St Clement Church, a Grade One medieval church nestling close to the River Tresillian, still feels very much an oasis in a busy world.

Thanks to Lottery and Heritage Funding and a lot of committed fundraisers and supporters, extensive work is currently underway to renovate and restore, replacing a major part of the roof, and installing a more efficient heating system. The hope is to put an end to the scourge of damp that threatens to erode many of the church’s valuable internal memorials.

But that is only part of the story. While the work is going on inside, it is the landscape outside where exciting plans are also being hatched. The church is beautiful, but it’s beauty is made richer by its setting and proximity to wildlife.

Vicar Revd Diane Willoughby explains, “St Clements has a special place in people’s hearts, especially locals, as it is so close to Cornwall’s capital city, Truro, yet feels like a million miles away. Surrounded by hills, farmland, creeks, peace and tranquillity, it is a place that people come to think, walk, watch and reflect. It’s the perfect place to get away and be reminded of how beautiful our county is.”

Plans are afoot to revive the ‘Living Churchyard’ that has seen better days and the footpaths which are unstable, steep and dangerous in wet weather. But hope and colour are being restored with safer resin pathways, handrails, wild flowers, plants and shrubs. There are also plans for a small tool shed to encourage visitors to adopt a grave as many of them are exceedingly old, and no longer tended to.

Bell Close, where it’s hoped the garden will be brought back to life, the wildlife will flourish and the connection between spirituality and God’s creation strengthened.

Just across the way is Bell Close, a wildlife sanctuary, that the church is hoping to develop as an outdoor spiritual extension by creating a quiet garden with designated reflective areas, secluded seating and prayer stations. A boggy area with a little wooden bridge would make a wonderful home for dragonflies, newts, frogs and other wildlife, and it is hoped to better connect the garden with the church-life with noticeboards and access to literature.

St Clement enjoys strong community support with over forty people regularly attending their monthly coffee mornings, concerts and special events, but the hope is to encourage the wider community with the idea of ‘an oasis in a busy world.’ A local school, Pencalennick, that specialises in young people with complex learning difficulties and disabilities, regularly visits the church but would benefit hugely from a quiet garden to explore as well.

It would be hard not to connect with God in such a peaceful setting, but the team at St Clement are keen to make that easier for their visitors by gently bringing the garden back to life, coaxing the wildlife to flourish and reinforcing that connection between spirituality and God’s creation.

We will keep you updated with their progress but if you would like to lend a hand or could help with the funding, please do contact Revd Diane Willoughby here.