RESIDENTS have slammed the state of a churchyard in Weaverham, after those paying tribute to loved ones were greeted with waist-high grass.

A lack of maintenance at Weaverham St Mary’s – closed to new burials – has led to headstones being mostly or entirely covered by grass.

The ‘heartbreaking’ state of affairs has given way to anger during the recent good weather.

Carol Weedall branded the churchyard a disgrace.

She said: “I visited a grave to lay flowers but you can’t see them because the grass is above the grave stones.

“I’m really upset, and I am not the only one, I’ve seen plenty of people go there and sob their heart out as I did.

“It’s heartbreaking. There is no vicar anymore at Weaverham – they are waiting to appoint a new one but apparently it’s nothing to do with the Vicar because it’s a closed graveyard.

“I’m more concerned because of the fact it’s a disgrace.”

When photos of the churchyard’s condition were posted on social media, the dismay led to complaints.

Louise Parry said on behalf of the church: “At St Mary’s we greatly appreciate the concern for the state of the churchyard – especially the height of the grass at the moment.

“We are very grateful for offers of help but would like to explain the situation.

“Because the churchyard is closed for new burials, the care of the churchyard has, for some time now, been the responsibility of the local authority.

“Our church warden has been in touch on several occasions recently on the subject but without success.

“If we begin to undertake the work ourselves they may possibly refuse to do so in the future.

“We will continue to encourage them to tackle the churchyard as soon as they can.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council maintenance vans were seen at the church as work began to cut the grass earlier this week.

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for the environment, said: “I am sorry to hear that there are concerns about grass growth at Weaverham cemetery. We take pride in ensuring that cemeteries in particular are well maintained.

"Our Streetcare team will be up to date with grass cutting later this month. This year has been particularly challenging following a very wet March that held up mowing, and a warm April that saw rapid grass growth. The team had planned an early start this year that unfortunately couldn’t happen.

"This is not a unique situation for Cheshire West, gardeners and other authorities across the country have been facing the same challenge.”