What is a woodland burial ground
A woodland burial ground also called a natural burial ground, is an alternative to a traditional, church yeard burial. Woodland burials are usually held on private land whereby the landowner has applied for it to be used as a burial place. The land can be fields or woodland and typically are a greener option due to biodegradable or sometime,s no coffin, being used. This encourages the body to become a part of the earth with some families feeling it is a more fitting tribute for their loved one.
What happens at a woodland burial ceremony
A woodland burial can be as extravagant or simple as the family wishes. You will need to discuss your ideas with the landowner first. As long as the ideas are natural then all ideas are usually welcome.
The day can follow a similar order of service as a normal funeral or cremation if you so wish, with the body being laid to rest with family surrounding the plot and everyone saying their goodbyes before the body is laid to its final resting place. The woodland burial site will have a room whereby you can hold a celebration of life after the official ceremony if you so wish. You could also have the celebration outside, weather permitting.
The ceremony overall is using kept in line with a woodland burial, so simple, elegant and personal to the person who has died.
Why choose a natural burial ground?
More and more people are conscious of the carbon footprint they are leaving on the earth and in death is no different. With a carbon footprint of a funeral and or cremation only getting higher more people are looking for more natural ways to be laid to rest. The human body will biodegrade into the earl and help support the local ecosystem which is a comforting feeling for some people, knowing that they will be helping a local area grow and give life to other animals and greenery.
The cost is an added benefit too, with green funerals being significantly less expensive than a traditional burial funeral. If you want to be cremated then arranging direct cremation and burying the ashes at a woodland area could also mean you will save money against more traditional ceremonies.
How much is a woodland burial?
The cost of a woodland burial is cheaper than a traditional cemetery plot, with the average cost being around £800-£900.
This will obviously vary depending on the location you choose and some areas may come with added benefits. Additional costs to keep in mind and ask about when purchasing a woodland burial site include:
- the burial plat itself – this is the basic cost of the plot, usually comes with an agreement of 99 years which is the maximum allowed by law)
- interment fee – this is sometimes included in the cost but it will be a fee to cover the actual burial of the coffin or ashes casket.
- grave digging fee – again, this is sometimes covered by one of the above, but check just in case as this can add up to £500 to the cost
- coffin or urn cost – this will be required to be made from natural materials to ensure a clean footprint is left in the woodland
- memorials – this can include birdhouses, plaques or trees/shrubs to help you locate the spot in which the deceased is laid.
An added cost advantage of a woodland burial is that there is no maintenance fee or upkeep for the plot, it is natural so it is left to grow.
Green burial urns
Urns and coffins for woodland burials need to be made from natural, biodegradable materials. We have a range of biodegradable urns for ashes on our site as well as additional products that you might be interested in such as biodegradable petals and notelets.
Woodland Burial Ceremony Ideas
There are a number of ideas for you to explore when it comes to arranging a woodland burial ceremony. We have spoken to and listed some ideas from funeral directors who have arranged a number of ceremonies for families across a range of religions and backgrounds we hope these will inspire you during your time of need:
- Naturally decorate the urn or casket with all-natural paints, wildflowers or hand, made natural decorations
- set a music theme based on the outdoors, using animal music of birds or whales to set a lovely mood during the ceremony.
- plat a favourite tree or brush to remember to lost
- use natural or biodegradable petals to spread during the ceremony. Or even better, hand out wildflower seeds for guests to spread to encourage more wildlife into the area.
- search for nature-themed songs or poems to read during the ceremony
If the deceased has been cremated, then the cost will be reduced and you are also free to hold the ceremony when you want, you could choose a significant date to mark the occasion.
Woodland Burial Grounds in the UK
We have created a directory to help you easily find your local natural burial ground. If you know of any missing, then please do let us know so we can keep it up top date
Woodland Burial Ground Oxfordshire
Woodland Burial Ground Kent
Woodland Burial Ground Devon
Woodland Burial Ground Yorkshire
Woodland Burial Ground Dorset
Woodland Burial Ground Wales
Woodland Burial Ground Scotland
Woodland Burial Frequently Asked Questions
Can the boy be embalmed before burial?
Usually no. Embalming can result in toxins becoming absorbed into the ground and poising the surrounding earth, which goes against the methods of a natural burial. Please check with your local provider.
Can we have a headstone?
Typically no. The idea is to keep the landscape looking as natural as possible so alternative methods of remembrance are typically offered, such as a birdhouse, engravings or small plaques can be arranging. We also have a lovely range of memorial stones which could be used. Again, you will need to check with your location of specifics.
Why are natural burial graves shallower than traditional funerals?
The human body decomposes at a greater rate the shallower the grave., this also reduces the amount of methane the body will reduce, making it more suitable for a woodland burial.
Find more information at naturaldeath.org.uk