A WIRRAL church has been recognised with an environmental award after creating a woodland walk and planting hundreds of trees. 

Christ Church on Kings Road in Higher Bebington has become the 30th church in England and Wales to achieve a gold Eco Church award presented by Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK. 

To achieve the award, Christ Church developed a woodland walk and a memorial orchard, created two ponds, planted hundreds of trees, and transformed its churchyard into a space where wildlife can thrive.

The planting scheme encourages bees, butterflies and birds, there are bird and bat boxes and bug and hedgehog hotels, and the hedges aren’t cut when birds might be nesting.

The land is used for outdoor services and learning about creation, and events such as Bonfire night, the Queen’s jubilee, the scarecrow festival, and a recent autumn fayre selling locally grown produce. There is regular community litter picking and people are encouraged to walk, cycle or car share to attend church.

Eco Church lead, Pam Cheesley-Hollinshead, said: "Our next major project is church heating, looking at solar panels and air or ground source heating to replace our gas boiler.

"We also want to develop an accessible sensory garden for meditation and reflection."

Now in its seventh year, the Eco Church award scheme has created a national community of churches addressing the environmental crisis, using a common framework, and learning and speaking up together.

There are now over 5,000 Eco Churches in England and Wales - more than 10% of all of the UK’s churches.

Helen Stephens, A Rocha UK’s Church Relations Manager, said: “We’re delighted that Christ Church, Higher Bebington, becomes our 30th gold awarded Eco Church four years on from beginning their eco journey.

"They are proof that every action matters.  It shows change is possible, especially working alongside others in community as Christ Church are doing. On the cusp of COP27 on climate change and COP15 on biodiversity, there is a part for us all to play across every sector of society to transform our relationship with the environment.

"Eco Church is a way for churches to engage and respond both practically and spiritually, and a gold award, as well as being a fantastic achievement of itself, is also a mark of commitment that a church is in this transformation work for the long term. So our huge congratulations to Christ Church and our eager anticipation as to what they’ll do next.” 

The vicar at Christ Church, Rev. Michael Loach, added: "Working through the Eco Church award scheme has been an invaluable help on a number of levels.

"It has given us a framework for environmental activism, enabled us to communicate our efforts in new ways, and helped to attract partners to work with.

"It has motivated our congregation to explore what is required to achieve the next level and how this reflects our Christian identity. And it has had an extremely positive effect on our mission to the parish. 

"People with no connection to the church have formed positive views of us as a church because of our well-publicised eco-journey."