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The Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

Shoreham, Kent, 


Written on behalf of Shoreham Church PCC:

The avenue of 50 yew trees is a major feature of our lovely churchyard and village,
but they have grown larger than was originally envisaged and the Parochial Church
Council needs to take some action. We are therefore inviting comments and
suggestions from those with experience and expertise, as well as from anyone who
would like to influence our decision, since we regard the churchyard (and church) as
very much "belonging to" the village and the Parish Council has in the past
contributed towards the cost of mowing, as do some village organisations.

We now face a practical, aesthetic and financial challenge.
 From a practical point of view, the width of the trees now makes it very difficult
to carry coffins from the church (in both directions) to the churchyard in a
dignified manner: the coffin-bearers, on both sides of the coffin, brush the
trees and not infrequently any flowers on top are caught by the branches. The
new field path and the wider Jubilee Gate have also led to a (welcome)
increased number of people passing along the church path, and quite a few
with wheelchairs, pushchairs and double buggies. Of course people are
always happy to step aside but a slightly wider space would doubtless be
easier for everyone.

 From an aesthetic point of view, we have received a number of comments
from those who feel the large yew trees make walking through the
churchyard, particularly in the evenings and winter afternoons, feel somewhat
“scary” and unsafe - the very opposite of what church should be! And it was
never the intention that the trees should obscure the views of the church and
churchyard. Where we have completely removed a couple of trees at the top
of the path (to accommodate the new Jubilee Gate) there was initially some
surprise, but people quickly came to appreciate the more open aspect around
the gate. Many have also welcomed the opening up of the approach to the
porch, where three trees have been pruned right back, and one has been
experimentally “shaped”.

 The financial challenge is simply that professional work on 50 trees is
expensive. Whilst the trees have been “tied in” at various times over the
years, this does not prevent continued growth and so a more permanent
solution requires proper pruning. That could be more regular thinning and
topping, as happened nearly ten years ago, or it could be a much more radical
pruning, with a significant reduction in height, as has been recommended to
us, to allow the trees to grow back to their originally intended shape and size.
This latter approach takes much more time, whereas the former requires a lot
more cash! There may be other approaches too or some combination of the

Whilst we are sure there won’t be complete agreement - and no action can be taken
without the blessing of the Tree Protection Officer - we would nevertheless prefer the
village as a whole to be supportive of the approach we decide to take if at all

Please feel free to contact Revd Diane
or either of the Churchwardens,
Johnny: ( or Kevin (

The church is open during daylight hours usually 9 am to 5pm

St. Peter and St. Paul, Church Street, Shoreham, Kent, TN14 7SA

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Thanks for that - we will get back as soon as possible

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