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 encourage those responsible for the maintenance of churchyards to do so with wildlife in mind while observing the main requirements of the church. Nowadays churchyards form part of the remaining fragments of old, unimproved, wildlife-rich grasslands. They are often the last refuge within a parish for the species and habitats they support. NWT has an advice pack designed for those involved in churchyard management. Hard copies are available on request or you can download an electronic version from this page.
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 and management advice to churches. Churches that join the Scheme are supplied with an outdoor Churchyard Conservation Scheme plaque and a laminated porch notice to help promote the Scheme to the local community and anybody visiting the church.

For further information and to apply to the Scheme please contact NWT.


Telephone: 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)