Think of land owned by the Church of England and you might picture a small rural churchyard filled with wildflowers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, the Church of England is one of the top ten landowners in the country with a vast and profitable land portfolio of over 105,000 acres.
Whilst most churchyards are lovingly tended for nature’s benefit by their local congregations, the majority of the Church’s land is owned and managed as an investment by a body called the Church Commissioners. Sadly, as a result, most of this land is in a dire ecological state. Of the land controlled by the Church Commissioners in England, only 3% of it is wooded compared with the UK average of 13%! This gives it the lowest tree coverage of the UK’s top ten institutional landowners.
The poor state of the Church’s landholdings flies in the face of the wishes of the wider Church congregation who have consistently backed radical action on the climate and ecological emergency. Church leaders are also outspoken on the need to urgently restore nature. It’s now time for the Church Commissioners to fulfil their duty and set large-scale rewilding targets that match the spiritual purpose and ambition of the Church itself.
We’re currently building alliances laying the groundwork for our Rewild the Church campaign. If you’d like to get involved, please sign up to our mailing list or contact us directly.