Major concerns have been raised about the danger of further erosion from the River Derwent to a 900-year-old churchyard.

Councillor Joe Sandwith told Seaton Parish Council he was concerned that if action is not taken coffins could soon be floating down the river.

He warned that Camerton churchyard might suffer the same flooding fate that it experienced in 2009, when the bank had eroded to such an extent that coffins were sticking out of the bank.

He said: “Something has got to be done, with climate change it’s just a matter of time before there’s another flood and there will be coffins floating down the river.”

A task force made up of representatives from Allerdale council and Seaton and Camerton parish councils met at the graveyard this week to discuss the dangers from the river wearing away land at the graveyard.

They were joined by two officers from Allerdale council as well as council leader Marion Fitzgerald and churchwarden Rob Steele.

Coun Sandwith, who represents Seaton on the district and parish councils, said: “Rock protection needs put around the church again and the river needs blocked from running through the field.”

Mr Steele told the group that the church has lost nine graves and several feet of land to erosion since 2009.

He added the problem was now getting worse as rock armour that had been added to reinforce the bank is starting to wash away.

The group discussed possible options for strengthening the banking and reinforcing it.

Work has begun on land opposite the church which is owned by Leconfield Estates.

A spokesman for Leconfield Estates said: “Work is currently being undertaken to the east of the river in preparation for tree planting. The estate is also in discussion with the Environment Agency about possible habitat improvement works which may also help to mitigate future erosion.”

The Environment Agency could not comment at the time of going to print, but said it would be contacting the landlord to discuss the issue directly.

Allerdale will contact the EA and then meet with the parish councils.