St Mary Walthamstow Churchyard

The churchyard contains numerous interesting graves and four listed tombs, and is divided into four railed and enclosed areas with public access to only two; it is bisected by paths which are in frequent public use. There are some 1300 visible monuments in and around the church, and it is thought that over 26,000 burials took place here. The first church of St Mary Walthamstow was founded in the early-12th century on the site of an older church. The current building is largely 16th-century with later alterations. The timber-framed Ancient House near the church probably stands on the site of the original Manor of Walthamstow.

85 GoodGymers have supported St Mary Walthamstow Churchyard with 42 tasks.


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Previous sessions

Girls Just Wanna Have RUN

Wednesday 3rd August

Written by Julia (Redbridge/Waltham Forest)

Muggy evening but marvelous company!

Arriving We were meeting at the Greenleaf church and I was wondering where everyone was at 6.40pm... but it turns out ladies were waiting at the front of the church, whilst I was inside at the back:) We had a lovely suprise and welcomed Sinead for her first ever goodgym session! Sadly Sinead hasn't signed up and I haven't taken her details so Sinead - if you're reading this, please leave a comment below to identify yourself:).

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Girls Justs Wanna Have RUN This week we are once again back with another 80s song reference. Let's just face it - it was the best era for cool tunes;)! We started tonight's session with a warm up and then nice and gently jogged to the Lloyds Park, around it and made our way onto the Forest Rd. Those who've been to the session before started throwing in sounds of terror because they knew what was coming... Yes, The Hurst Hill of Hell was upon us but like a group of amazons we sprinted up like it was nothing, OK we jogged up composed, OK we moaned and groaned and swore to make it to the top...!!!! Great heart rate buster this! But once at the top we pushed on to the end of the road and arrived nicely warmed up (an understatement) for a session at the St. Mary's churchyard.

Spreading the seed Tim the gardener had a lovely surprise of a task for us - we had a task of collecting wildflower seeds from the grounds of the church but also across the road where a nice wildflower meadow had plenty of seeds to collect. Tim kindly explained to us how different seed pods and seeds look, showed us a variety of wildflowers such as cornflower, california and other poppies, nigella and many more. It was a gentle and relaxing task and gave us a chance to get to know each other, especially Sinead! After a quick 40 or so minutes we gently jogged to Greenleaf, remembering to take a group selfie photo and stretched down on arrival.

A lovely session !

You can sign up for next week HERE.

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Roots and boots

Wednesday 1st June

Written by Julia (Redbridge/Waltham Forest)

Such a lovely sunny evening to finish this short week with a bit of digging!

After initial confusion about the location we found the area and what needed to be done. It was a beautiful evening to wrap up the week with the chat about pretty much everything whilst digging out some very deep cow parsley roots!

Time went by really quickly and we were happy with our efforts!

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Raining Cats and Frogs

Wednesday 6th April

Written by Julia (Redbridge/Waltham Forest)

Crikey this was a rainy session!!!

It all started well before the session - Tony and Julia got caught in the torrential rain and hailstone crazyness of biblical proportions!!! So both arrived at Greenleaf very much soaked to the bones:)

Everyone else decided to 'skip the rain' and come straight to the St Mary's church task directly. Nice try! but you can't fight the weather:)

Our task was to move a pile of rubble from one place to another and clear up a couple of tombs from Ivy that looks pretty but is really damaging as it can crack the strongest of marbles!

We started with a nice little session of circuits with jumping jacks, tricep dips, press ups and lunges that we rotated around. The weather was really nice but it pretty much started to rain straight away and as if by plan Saj's 'mum called' so he 'had to go and hide under the tree':)

It was a nice surprise to see Matthew come by as well and help out with the gardening task!

We had lots of banter the summary of which cannot be repeated in writing and we found a lovely little froggy, which Helen skillfully used to come up with a nicely punny report title!

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Pivot! Pivot!

Wednesday 9th February

Written by Julia (Redbridge/Waltham Forest)

Wowzeee this was a great session - all body workout and all mind banter!!!

As usual most of us met at Greenleaf Church homebase, where we left some of our stuff, and then started with the usual warm up so that we could easily jog for a mile or so to The Hill of Hell, which by now is feeling like a normal hill after weekly 'training' up it! Well done to Tony, Rebecca, Ercole and Francis coming for a pre-task mini-jog, it's always great to have a nice chat and a jog in the beginning. Once at St Mary's we met Amarjit, Ramon and Saj, who made their way there by walking/running from their homes.

Shovelling, Wheelbarrowing and Weeding! Once welcome hugs and greetings were exchanged, we got on with the task which included three parts:

  • Load wheelbarrows with compost and then push them all around the construction structure to the churchyard where a huge planter (also an empty tomb (?we think?)) needed to be filled with compost.
  • Lift wheelbarrows and tip the compost into the planter - this was a great workout that involved a step/squat onto a raised pedestal, and then using biceps pushing up a wheelbarrow to tip the contents in by shouting Pivot!Pivot!!
  • Clear the ivy - to ensure that all the hard work was equally distributed, we rotated between those who loaded&wheeled with those who lifted&weeded alternating after each task.

Ama the photographer As Amarjit couldn't do the heavy lifting, she was in charge of catching the best moments from the session and didn't she do a great job - the photos are amazing and Ama also managed to clear a lot of ivy off the gravestones!!! Check out the maestro in action:

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Warm up for Wednesday session by Frances and Ercole By the end everyone was really feeling the hard work and we definitely felt like we did a lot by filling up more than 2/3 of that humongous planter!!! This was definitely a great cherry on top of an active day for Francis and Ercole, who earlier in the day decided to do a 30km run and a hill workout - just your average Wednesday;)

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WRAP UP, COOL DOWN

We finished the evening with half of the folks making their way home from the churchyard, whilst the other half had a very easy jog back to the base for a nice stretch-down, paying attention to the arms:)

Until next time - sign up here for another fun active sesh!

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That'd be Grave, thanks

Wednesday 2nd February

Written by Julia (Redbridge/Waltham Forest)

Such a lovely evening for a jog and clearing of the graves;)!

Arrival and The Hill of Hell As usual most of us met at the lovely Greenleaf Rd church, was great to see last minute sign-ups! Once we got everyone we went through a warm up of jumping jacks, high knees, arm rotations and dynamic lower body stretches. As usual we took off a bit faster so I will definitely need to remember to slow everyone down to ease into it:) We did a short route through forest road to The Hill of Hell otherwise known as Hurst Road - it ain't pleasant but I think everyone secretly (very very deep inside) was proud of getting to the top and carrying lightly jogging, truly warmed up at this point! We arrived at the churchyard where lovely Tim met us and explained what we needed to do with all tools prepped and ready for us.

Foxxy troubles Whilst we were getting our briefing about the task we noticed a fox lying down very close around 2 meters away - it was a beautiful furry fella but he was not super afraid of us (always a sign of concern) and then started to limp away. It is a mating season for foxes so there's been a lot of fighting between males leading to these kind of injuries. I consulted a few nature experts and they advised that there's a likelihood of healing on its own within a few weeks so no need for Fox Rescue at this stage. Fingers crossed for Mr Foxxy, it was just so heartbreaking to see this little fella limping.

It was Grave! - getting the task done Once the foxy drama was put aside we got on with the job by cutting down brambles and clearing ivy off the gravestones. Lots of squatting and arm strengthening here! As usual on these sort of tasks we also talked about variety of topics but one in particular was wild garlic and whether we smelled it or was that the weed that was permeating the air from a nearby group no doubt!:) The presence of wild garlic usually indicates a site of ancient woodland and St Mary's churchyard certainly qualifies as such as well as the other place we help at St Peters. We were discussing all the different things you can make with this lovely plant but Rachel's shared recipe is the winner - wild garlic and cheddar scones.

Cycle Sisters & Brother visit It was great to get a thank you or two from passers-by appreciating us taking care of this community space. One group of passers-by were three cyclists that I recognised from my JoyRiders rides - these were the ladies from the Cycle Sisters - a fantastic organisation that encourages muslim women to cycle. They were accompanied by a Cycle Brother as well! We chatted for a bit explaining what we do and how GoodGym works and who knows we might convince them to come along to the session one day!:)

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Cooling down whilst stretching down The task was over in no time, so we packed up, locked up and jogged back! This time we enjoyed going downhill, taking a shorter route back to the base where we had a good stretching session and a chat.

Great session everyone - well done for coming along and bringing your great energy to this group session!

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Back to the gravestone

Friday 21st January

Written by Ed Field (he/him)

Another Friday lunchtime and another relaxing hour spent clearing ivy and brambles from the graves at St Mary's Church in Walthamstow Village. It's a wonderfully peaceful place and the perfect lunchbreak during a busy day at the desk.

GoodGym Waltham Forest have now cleared around 75% of the area so we'll be back again soon. Check out what's coming up here

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