Norfolk Wildlife Trust Churchyard Conservation Scheme
Norfolk was historically rich in lowland meadows and the beautiful and diverse displays of wildflowers that this ancient habitat supports.
This was at a time before agricultural intensification, with meadows being managed in traditional ways such as for grazing or hay cutting, allowing wildflowers to flourish. However, since the Second World War this low-intensity, sympathetic management has been replaced by widespread application of fertilisers, herbicides and large scale reseeding and ploughing up of meadowland. It is estimated that since 1945, 98 percent of our wildflower meadows once widespread in the countryside have now vanished.
Nowadays, churchyards often form the only remaining fragments of old wildlife-rich meadow in a parish, serving as island refuges for local wildlife, including birds, butterflies, bees, hedgehogs and slow-worms to name a few. There are six species of meadow plant that are now deemed dependent on churchyards for their survival in Norfolk and a number of churchyards even support orchid populations if allowed to survive the spring and summer months.
Recognising this, The Norfolk Wildlife Trust Churchyard Conservation Scheme was set-up over 30 years ago with the aim of encouraging and supporting churches to manage their churchyards with wildlife in mind so that they may continue to offer sanctuary in our ever fragmented and degraded landscapes.
Under the scheme, we have surveyed and given free advice to hundreds of churches in Norfolk. Each year a team of dedicated volunteer churchyard surveyors visit dozens of churchyards to survey them and identify the best areas for wildflowers and other wildlife. We then provide a report giving detailed results, along with some basic and clear advice on how parts of the churchyard could be managed for wildlife (such as establishing a Conservation Area), whilst ensuring the churchyard remains cared-for, accessible and able to perform its primary purpose, promoting the area as a place of refuge for both people and wildlife. If a church would like to manage a part (or in some cases all!) of their churchyard for wildlife, then they can become part of the scheme and display a Norfolk Wildlife Trust Churchyard Conservation Scheme plaque.
The service is free and more information can be found at: www.DofN.org/ccs
If you would like to be added to the list of churchyards to be surveyed next year, receive an information pack or have any questions, please email email@example.com or call 01603 625540.
This article is from...
Articles in this issue...
The goose is getting fat. Are you prepared?
Christmas time encourages more than double the regular number of people to attend services in our churches, so why do we need to do anymore to reach out to the community?More
Finding solutions for bats and church buildings
Bats can be found in most historic churches in England, often in such small numbers that they go unnoticed.More
Going for Growth in Eaton
Last year, 2018, was a very special year for St Andrew’s Eaton: the 25th Anniversary of the consecration of our new church building, and also the 700th Anniversary of the arrival of the first known vicar.More
PCC Away Days – Time to take the long view
John F Kennedy, visiting the NASA space centre, needed a comfort break – and then got lost.More
Community Library in a Nissen Hut
In 2005 the church here in Sea Palling decided to upgrade a WW2 Nissen Hut to use for all manner of events.More
Village Car Scheme is a ‘God Send’
The Ludham Village Car Scheme (LVCS), suggested by a previous incumbent, is now in its 8th year.More
Yare Valley Churches tackles social isolation
Over recent years in Broadland there have been improvements to the provision that many communities offer for the elderly, particularly those who are living alone.More
Conservation at Hemblington
Churchyards are a sanctuary for our hard-pressed wildlife.More
Diversity and abundance for visitors to explore
The churchyard of All Saints, Hethel, is a remnant of the ancient meadows, flower-rich grasslands, which were once widespread but are now disappearing at an alarming rate due to development, overgrazing, ploughing or by herbicide and fertiliser usage.More
Engaging with our local school through wildlife survey
In common with most country churchyards, All Saints’ in Stibbard has its fair share of wildlife.More