Northam’s St Margaret’s Church has been crowned the best churchyard in the county.

St Margaret's Church in Northam has been named the best churchyard in the county by Devon CPRE.St Margaret's Church in Northam has been named the best churchyard in the county by Devon CPRE.

The church was given the top prize in Devon CPRE’s (Campaign to Protect Rural England) best churchyard competition.

A sustainable oak plaque and a cheque for £200 was awarded to representatives of the community of volunteers who help maintain the biodiverse churchyard.

Churchwarden Cath Ellis said, “We are thrilled to be this year’s winner. We have entered before and received positive feedback, so it’s wonderful that the judges recognised all the hard work we have put into improving our churchyard further still.

“This green space is particularly special to the people of Northam because we don’t have a park or a village green.

Church warden Cath Ellis with the winner's plaque.Church warden Cath Ellis with the winner's plaque.

“Maintaining it has become a real community effort, with churchgoers and non-churchgoers committed to making it a peaceful haven.

The competition is in its third year and celebrates churchyards which provide a peaceful haven for people and wildlife.

Each entry is visited by judges, who are looking for churchyards which encourage biodiversity and offer something special to the community rather than something pristine and manicured.

Second place went to St Swithun’s Church in Sandford.

The memorial garden at St Margaret's Church in Northam.The memorial garden at St Margaret's Church in Northam.

Devon CPRE director Penny Mills, who was one of two judges, said: “We’ve seen some amazing places from tiny rural churchyards to larger urban ones and visited villages we’d never been to before.

“We’ve seen first-hand how well communities take care of all these special places and how they encourage wildlife with lots of different ideas.”