Churchyard Working Group

The churchyard was constructed in a circular pattern in the early Christian era, like some others in the Chester area. Currently it is still an open churchyard. At the end of 2017 a new cremated remains area was made as there were few spaces left. A Faculty was granted for this.

A public footpath runs along the west boundary wall which is currently being monitored as there are some old and large yew trees growing alongside the structure, which may cause problems in the future.


Brown Hawker

31. churchyardv1.JPG

Wren singing
(Photo Credits: David Cummings)


Since November 2016 the maintenance of the churchyard has been done regularly by the Probation Service Community Payback team aided every month by a Churchyard Working Party of volunteers. A lunch of soup, bread and cheese is provided by one of the volunteers and is excellent for fellowship and morale. The success of this venture is evident by the praise given by people walking through the area or visiting graves. Dates for the working party can be found in the weekly news sheet, parish website, and on the notice boards.


Currently, we are re-wilding a  section of the churchyard.  Re-wilding is a process which aims to assist with restoring nature and increase the numbers of pollinators such as bees and butterflies etc. Re-wilding is a well recognised process and is being publicised extensively through horticultural organisations such as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

 Further information about this topic can be found if you make your way over to the RHS website.  Read more

The value of re-wilding has been echoed in an enlightening article authored by Archdeacon Ian Bishop (with acknowledgement to Katy Purvis).  If you would like to learn about this then please feel free to follow this link. Bio Diversity

Achieving Net zero responsibly

Although this is primarily a sacred churchyard it is none-the-less still an area of natural beauty and like much of the surrounding  Cheshire countryside is a precious resource and is something which we need to protect.  According to the Climate Change Committee (UK Government established body) we cannot achieve net zero carbon emissions without rewilding.

Follow the link to understand about the work of the Climate Change Committee   Read more

However, this must also be balanced against the backdrop of measurable strategies using sustainable and workable planting schemes. The other thing of course is keeping  safety requirements in mind to keep those who use the churchyard regularly, safe from potential injury or harm from dangers such as uneven ground, broken up footpaths,  tree branches, or unstable grave stones.

New Hornbeam
(Organisation by Churchwardens & Hornbeams were
planted by Huw & Lesley Morgan)

New Hornbeams planted in Copse!

St James' Church Christleton has planted two new Hornbeam trees near the vets at Vicars' Cross, Littleton in January 2023. This is to off-set St James' Church carbon footprint for the removal of two trees from the churchyard late last year. It was decided not to plant any new trees in the churchyard due to the problems associated with roots causing footpath movement and damage, and  grave disturbance.  That is to say we all want lots of trees to help reduce the effects of climate change but as academics and research have rightly pointed out that re-wilding management and practice is also about having the correct balance of tree-life in the right place!

New volunteers are always welcome, no experience necessary. Please contact Mike Lightfoot on 07787421357

Community Payback  - Update 06/7/2023

We do have the Community Payback people helping us out which is always very welcome. However, due to circumstances beyond our control their availability is irregular.  So we  could do with some enthusiastic extra pairs of hands.  So plese do come along with your own tools if you are able to!

If you or anybody you know would like to volunteer your time during working parties we would be so grateful. Please get in contact with Mike Lightfoot on the number given on this page.

The dates for working parties are available on the noticeboards located around the church.  Please also keep an eye on our Whats on page which is  our church website calendar.

Working parties are still on-going and are monthly. Keep up-to-date via our blog if you follow the link:St James' Newsletter blog


St James' Church

Pepper Street
Tel: 07487642912
UK Registered Charity No: 1133992