Churchyard Conservation

Edingthorpe All Saints' continues as an active member of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's (NWT) Churchyard Conservation Scheme alongside many other Norfolk churches that are actively maintaining their churchyards as havens for nature alongside the needs of people to lay their loved ones to rest and a place for peaceful reflection.

We are proud to have two Commonwealth War Graves within the churchyard - full details can be found here.

The conservation scheme was started in 1981 in association with the Diocese of Norwich. With the loss of the traditional meadows once seen in the countryside, churchyards are becoming the sole remnants of the once abundant ancient wildflower meadows and are now vital for the survival of many plant species.

NWT conducted a plant survey of the All Saints’ churchyard as part of the scheme in 2020/2021. This very detailed survey identified 82 different plant species of which 15 were highlighted ‘of interest’ meaning that they no longer appear in the greater countryside; for example, pignut (one of the holy trinity of churchyard dependent wild flowers - pignut, oxeye daisy and lady’s bedstraw). It identified a total of 82 different species of flora as follows:

Wildflowers: 49 – 12 of which are significant Grasses/Sedges/ Wood rushes 16 – 3 of which are significant Ferns 1 Trees/Shrubs 14 Mosses (Bryophytes) 3

The species designated significant are listed in the file Important Species Table.pdf below. In the table the indicators in the Occurrence column have the following meaning based on the common DAFOR (Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional, Rare) system of recording for plants can be a bit confusing! NWT use it to indicate occurrence across the churchyard, so a species might be rare in Edingthorpe churchyard, but actually a really common species in general. In addition, LF stands for 'locally frequent', which is used to indicate that a species is frequent in one part of the churchyard but does not occur so often in other parts of the churchyard.

The surveyor commented:

“It was a real joy to visit your lovely churchyard over the past couple of summers, and to find it supporting a good diversity of wildflowers and other species. Edingthorpe is a good example of churchyard grassland. It has typical species such as pignut, germander speedwell, common sorrel, bulbous buttercup, meadow buttercup and sweet vernal grass - all of which are becoming scarce in the wider Norfolk countryside. You are doing a grand job!”.

All Saints’ is maintaining the churchyard to provide an environment that encourages wild flowers and other flora and fauna, particularly the important species that have been identified, in addition to the lovely succession of spring bulbs we see from January onwards; snow drop, daffodil and bluebells - always an uplifting sight.

The area in front of the church on the south side has been designated the main conservation area and left to grow as a wild flower meadow and the plan is to continue this practice. We have been able to engage the help of a local group of volunteers, the North East Norfolk Conservation Volunteers, with the annual cutting and raking of the churchyard in late September/ early October. Wildlife sightings are also regularly reported to the various agencies via the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service.

If you are interested in the full survey report see file NWT Edingthorpe Churchyard Report 2021.pdf below.

A gallery of photographs of the churchyard throughout the year can be found in file All Saints Conservation Area Gallery 2023 below. 

Important_Species_Table, PDF


Churchyard-Regulations-2016-Updated-Nov-2020, PDF


All_Saints_Conservation_Area_Gallery_2023, PDF


Chancellors-General-Guidance-on-Churchyards-February-2016, PDF