Shrewsbury Abbey banishes pesky pigeons after five-month crusade

Clergy at Shrewsbury Abbey are celebrating having won a five-month ‘battle with pigeons’.

Shrewsbury Abbey. Pic: Mark Booth
Shrewsbury Abbey. Pic: Mark Booth

Church members and volunteers from a number of local organisations have been working to make the church pigeon-proof following lockdown in March.

The birds had been finding their way into the historic building, making a mess and causing problems for church stewards and visitors.

But thanks to volunteers from Drone Rangers and Couleurlive, and workers from Ropeworx, gaps in the Abbey’s windowpanes have been filled, allowing church members to begin cleaning and revamping the premises ahead of a possible reopening to tourists next month.

It has also allowed the clergy to start work on a £483,000 project, set to take years, to make the Abbey as accessible as possible.

Rev Dr Thomas Atfield, vicar of Holy Cross Parish including Shrewsbury Abbey and St Peter’s Church in Monkmoor, said: “We’d very much like to open for tourism next month subject to government conditions.

“One of our biggest problems is that we’ve had a five-month battle with pigeons getting into the Abbey and making a mess, which we’ve just overcome.”

'Fantastic'

Mr Atfield added: “It’s been months of work to get rid of the pigeons.

“A huge thanks to Drone Rangers, Ropeworx and Couleurlive – we are finally pigeon-free and secure so they can’t get back in.

“Drone Rangers and Couleurlive both gave their time and skills for free – we are truly thankful.”

The abbey has only been open for private prayer and worship, but church members are hoping they will be able to open the premises to visitors in November.

It comes after the Abbey received nearly £100,000 from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

In the next few weeks, volunteers, guides and stewards are set to receive training in working with the public in line with Covid regulations.

Mr Atfield added: “We’ve been making the abbey safe and attractive and spent the last week deep cleaning – it looks fantastic and it’s no exaggeration to say it’s the best its looked in years.”

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