Churchyard Conservation Scheme

The Norfolk Churchyard Conservation Scheme was established in 1981 and is run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in collaboration with the Diocese of Norwich. Nearly half of Norfolk’s parish churches are registered under the scheme, which aims to help churches manage their churchyards to protect the plant species of particular interest while observing the main requirements of the church. Advice and surveys are available on request, and the Scheme also publishes a range of information sheets and an advice booklet which are free of charge and can be downloaded from this webpage.
Since 2008, Norfolk Wildlife Trust has been working in partnership with the Norfolk and Suffolk Community Rehabilitation Company to provide practical help in churchyards. Through this scheme, the Trust hopes to increase the number of churchyards being actively managed to benefit wildlife, and is particularly keen to help churches where management in parts of the churchyard has lapsed, or where cutting and clearing of wildflower-rich areas is proving difficult because of a shortage of people to do the work.
NWT offer free plant surveys, management advice and advice on practcial help and funding. NWT supply churches who join the scheme with an outdoor churchyard plaque and a laminited porch notice to help promote the scheme to the local community and general public that visit the church.

For further information and to apply to the Scheme please contact NWT by emailing churchyards@norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk or call 01603 625540.

Churchyards can be vulnerable to inappropriate management for a number of different reasons:

  • a perceived conflict between managing in a wildlife-friendly manner, and maintaining a neat and tidy appearance
  • a shortage of labour or funding, or a lack of understanding, to carry out suitable management
  • architectural renovations, leading to damage to or loss of important stonework habitathealth and safety issues eg repositioning of headstones, felling of ‘dangerous’ veteran trees
  • inappropriate siting and selection of new churchyard trees and shrubs
  • inappropriate use of herbicides
  • reseeding (Plantlife's Keeping the Wild in Wildflower A balanced approach to conservation seeding)

NWT churchyard pack (free to download)