Crostwick church congregation in a flap over feathered friends

A medieval church on the outskirts of Norwich is normally happy to welcome new members to its friendly congregation, but a group of returning visitors have caused something of a flap over plans to repair the roof.

Hidden away in the middle of the historic Crostwick Common, the small parish church of St Peter's, Crostwick, near Spixworth, might be a little difficult to find for most visitors to the area.

But the church has proved the perfect place to perch up for a new home sweet home for an eagle-eyed flock of jackdaws who have started nesting in the roof.

The problem is the birds are not only making a mess of the church, they are also interfering with plans to repair the roof as they will need to be moved before that can start.

An appeal is being launched next month to find the �5,000 that will be needed to cover the cost of repairing the roof, but before that can happen church regulars are going to have to help find new nesting places for their feathered friends.

Reverend Andrew Beane, rector of Crostwick, Spixworth, and Horsham St Faith, said: 'Crostwick has a very particular problem; some churches have bats, Crostwick has jackdaws.

'A whole flock has started nesting in the roof and every so often find their way into the church and make a dreadful mess. So not only do we need to make the roof jackdaw proof, we also need to help our jackdaws find new nesting places.'

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John Bryant, a churchwarden at St Peter's, said one of the ideas was to build nesting boxes near the church to encourage them to nest elsewhere. He said: 'The problem is they come back every year, so unless we find somewhere else for them to nest they are going to keep coming back to the same places.

'They're quite intelligent birds, so even if we try to prevent them coming in by covering the brickwork outside, they will still find a way in. It's quite an issue with them. So unless we find somewhere else for them to nest, they will keep getting in.'

Mr Bryant said the problem with the roof was centred at the chancel end with some of the tiles slipping down.

The roof appeal will start with a launch at the evensong service at the church from 6.30pm on June 19. It will be followed up by several appeal events over the coming weeks, including a Crostwick Summer Buffet which will be held at the rectory, Buxton Road, Spixworth on July 23 from 7.30pm.

There will also be a coffee morning and sale at Crostwick Church, including the chance to explore the delights of Crostwick Common,- on July 30 from 10am, and a summer concert by the Broadside Choir at the church on August 6 from 7pm.

Anyone who wants to support the appeal should go along to any of the events or send a donation to the Crostwick Roof Appeal, The Rectory, Buxton Road, Spixworth, Norwich NR10 3PR. Cheques should be made payable to Crostwick PCC.

Have you got a story about birds nesting in an unusual place? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email