Churchyard maintenance

Tree management 

Trees are a traditional and valuable feature in your churchyard. They create character and support wildlife.

Guidance from the national church can help you care for and promote yours.

Permission for works to trees

The care and maintenance of a churchyard and the trees in it is the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council.

Major works to trees (such as felling a living/healthy tree) will need a faculty. But certain works on List B can be done with the permission from your archdeacon. Others on List A need no permission at all. 

Remember that secular law also applies to churchyards and you should consult your local planning authority before doing any significant tree works. Especially if it has a Tree Preservation Order or is in a Conservation Area.

Churchyard paths

The resurfacing of paths and other hardsurfaced areas using different materials or colour where the church is not a listed building can be permitted under List B. The repair of paths and other hardsurfaced areas, including resurfacing in the same materials and colour, on the other hand, can be undertaken without permission under List A

If it is felt that the resurfacing or creation of a new path through your churchyard will require a faculty, the preference is for paths and hardstanding where surfaces are in natural stone or permeable material, and/or where it can be demonstrated that the design is detailed to prevent run-off to sewers and increased flood risk. Ask your architect to consider this in their design.

Churchyard benches

The introduction or removal of a churchyard bench can be applied for under List B with permission from your archdeacon. No bench proposed to be introduced should have an inscription on it which would not be permitted on a monument in the churchyard under the applicable churchyard regulations

Boundary wall maintenance

In most instances the repair or rebuilding of churchyard walls can be applied for under List B with permission from your archdeacon. However, if the works are for extensive rebuilding then consult the Church Buildings team for further advise as the matter may require a faculty. It is important that the works will not relate to any wall which is included in the Schedule maintained for the purposes of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 or is separately listed as a building of special architectural or historic interest under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Consulting your inspecting architect may be necessary if the proposed intervention is considered extensive and it should be determined that any new disturbance below ground level is kept to a minimum.

Cycle Parking

The installation of stands for bicycles is an increasingly common request in churchyards looking to encourage visitors and promote environmentally friendly travel to and from church. The installation of stands for bicycles can be applied for under List B permission from your archdeacon. Please also see a guidance note from the Church Buildings Council on Cycle Parking and Security in Churchyards (2021).

External noticeboards

The introduction, replacement or alteration of a notice board can be applied for under List B with permission from your archdeacon. 
The specific condition is that the new notice board is not illuminated, and that the relevant local authority advertising consent (or planning permission) and the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 are complied with. 

Please see our noticeboard advice document for help on designing your board.

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