Natural Burials and Natural Burial Grounds

Natural Burial GroundsMore and more people are thinking about arranging a greener type of funeral that is more echo friendly than cremation. There are a lot of green burial grounds around the country now and they are wonderful, peaceful areas that are very close to nature. 

For people who have lived their life with a love of the great outdoors, a mown plot in a churchyard or municipal cemetery just isn't the return to nature they had in mind. Until fairly recently if you wanted to get back to nature you would have to persuade your loved ones to scatter your ashes in a peaceful spot. But over the last ten years, a quiet revolution has been taking place throughout the country, led by pioneers like Ken West. Ten years ago he founded the UK's first woodland burial site in Carlisle. This year there are around 200 natural burial sites ranging from ancient woodlands to wildflower meadows and everything in between. At these sites, bodies are left un-embalmed to prevent soil pollution, and wooden coffins are a definite no-no. Bodies are buried in cardboard, wicker or bamboo coffins and graves are often marked only by a tree.

The goal of a natural burial is to return the body to the earth in a manner that does not inhibit decomposition and allows the body to recycle naturally. It is an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices

The body may be buried in a biodegradable coffin or shroud. The grave does not use a burial vault and it should be dug to a depth shallow enough to allow the same aerobic activity found in composting.

Natural burials that permit full decomposition can take place in conventional cemeteries as well as dedicated natural burial grounds. Therefore, the act of burial should be considered distinct from landscaping and management techniques (restoration ecology; habitat conservation projects; permaculture etc.) that may vary widely from site to site and are used to maintain the burial area in perpetuity.

A natural burial ground often uses grave markers that do not intrude on the landscape. These natural markers can include shrubs and trees, or a flat indigenous stone which may be engraved. The burial ground may be designed with centralised memorial structures where visitors can sit within an emerging forest. As in all cemeteries, there are records kept of the exact location of each interment, often using survey techniques such as GIS. geographic information system

Planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers on or near the grave establishes a living memorial and helps form a protected wildlife preserve. Irrigation is not used, nor are pesticides and herbicides applied.

Cemetery legislation protects natural burial preserves in perpetuity from future development while the establishment of a conservation easement prevents future owners from altering the original intent for these burial grounds. For people who are mindful of the cyclical nature of life, a natural burial is an alternative to conventional burial methods.

If you would like to arrange a green burial please contact on 0800 0327 260.  We can organise everything for you including finding the right funeral director, arrange for a minister, civil celebrant or humanist to conduct the ceremony, supply an eco friendly coffin, arrange for musicians, dove release at grave side and many other things to make the ceremony a unique experience for the family and friends. 
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