Barmby Moor – St Catherine’s
About this churchyard
St Catherine’s, in Barmby Moor, is said to be the largest churchyard in East Yorkshire, certainly it is very large (2.5 acres or 1 hectare). It has been managed for wildlife since the mid 1990s when the then vicar, Canon Val Hewetson, a botany graduate, noticed wildflowers flowering in between mowings. Fast forward to the 2020s, the churchyard has a range of mowing regimes – to allow the wildflowers to continue to thrive and provide a habitat for small mammals, insects and other small creatures.
The areas of modern graves are mown approximately once a fortnight in the growing season to provide ready access to visiting families. The wildlife area in the South of the churchyard, is on land too damp to be used for burials. The area can be divided in to three parts. One part is never mown but has briers etc removed. The other two areas are mown on alternate years with the cuttings removed. The network of paths and the area near the main door are mown weekly and scarified occasionally by volunteers to provide easy access for visitors to parts of the churchyard. The remaining areas are left to grow long and cut on a two year cycle with the cuttings removed by volunteers.
Within the churchyard are war graves from WWII, of fallen airmen from Pocklington Aerodrome. There is also an interesting standing stone, called the Wart Stone. Standing approximately 5 feet high, you can find it near the main door.
The best time to visit is in spring and summer, when cowslips and snakes head fritillaries flourish, followed by oxeye daisies, red campion and pignut. Later still, field and devil’s bit scabious flower, as does betony. On sunny days common grassland butterflies can be seen.
All the trees have been catalogued; there are more than 50 in the churchyard.
The church provides two free treasure trails, available in the entrance. The one for younger children (aged 8 – 10) includes outdoor activities and things to find the churchyard.
On the south side of the churchyard, is a shallow beck where water shrew and the occasional kingfisher can be seen. Following the beck, a short distance on tarmac paths, brings you to St Catherine’s sister wildlife area on Beckside. Three species of wild native orchid flower there in June. This area is open access and part of the village greens.
Other areas in the wider village are maintained as corridors for pollinators, planted with both wild and cultivated plants. There is a snicket on Manor Garth, a border on Flat Lane and a patch of ground at the back of the Old School that can be viewed from the verge. All are a riot of colour and pollinators in summer and worth seeing if time allows.
- Wildflower area
- Wildlife haven
- Peaceful space for quiet reflection
- Lichen haven
- Good accessibility
- Stones with stories
- Good accessibility
- Churchyard cross
- Commonwealth war graves
Churchyard – open all the time.
The church is unlocked every day between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm or dusk if earlier.
The churchyard is on a shallow incline from North to South. Three tarmac paths give access from the gates to the main door. Grass paths exist as a network around the churchyard to the Commonwealth war graves and the wild areas. These are generally level, wide enough for a wheelchair and are closely mown to make access as easy as it can be.
On Site Information
An interpretation board near the South gate. Low enough for children and wheelchair users to read. There is a children’s treasure trail pamphlet available in the entrance. It includes things to find in both the church building and the churchyard.
There are two toilets in church, one has disabled access. Both may be reached using the disabled access to the church – a short, paved path to a door on the West side of the church. An alternative entrance is by two shallow steps at the main door which also gives access to both toilets.
Two wooden benches, one on the south side near the main door and one on the North side. A third is planned to be installed near the cremated remains area in 2022.
Parking & Transport
No formal parking but plenty of space to park on the roads on three sides of the churchyard.
Request stops nearby on the B1246 for the EYMS service from York to Bridlington – routes 45 and 46.
The Boot and Slipper public house serves food in the village. Saturday morning coffee served in St Catherine’s on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 10:30 to 12:30. Various cafes, pubs and restaurants in Pocklington, 2 miles away (market day on a Tuesday).