Woodland Burials in the UK
- Natural green burials in woodland burial sites as an economic, ecological and sustainable alternative to the traditional cemetery burial or cremation -
What is woodland burial?
It is a burial in a permanent independent natural site specifically ring fenced for the purpose of containing burial plots. A tree is usually planted as a memorial to the deceased after internment. Often in addition a small plaque with the deceased's name and span of life may be laid at the grave site. A commemorative service to the deceased can be held at the time of burial independent of religious dictates or in keeping with dictates entirely as desired. text
Why woodland burials?
Unless there are unusual circumstances the total cost will almost certainly be less than a traditional burial or cremation.
Ecological and sustainable
The modern woodland burial site is earmarked in perpetuity as an expanse of land largely for nature to take its course once burial and tree planting has taken place. This permits the two-fold advantage of the permanent preservation of an area for natural woodland together with a peaceful memorial marker for people to remember family members and friends after they have passed on.
Secular or religious
To have a service or not and the type of service is of the deceased or deceased family's choice. Any physical tributes secular or religious would normally be removed a short period of time after an internment or service in keeping with the design for naturalness.
Woodland burial site locations
Usually in scenically attractive rural locations. The numbers of green woodland parks and sites have grown since 1993 with a few hundred now to be found across England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland appears to be still awaiting its first designation.
Woodland burials beginnings in the United Kingdom
The concept of natural woodland burial and the first site of its type in the UK was instigated by Carlisle's town council in 1993 as a direct response to the common business mantra to increase efficiency and reduce costs in the town's cemetery and crematory department.
Private natural alternative burials
Private land or garden burials are NOT against the law in the United Kingdom.
Putting the emotional and sentimental aspect entirely to the side private burials could provide a realistic natural burial alternative. In the United Kingdom you don't need permission from any authority to conduct a burial on private land, merely permission from the landowner. Most aspects pertaining to burial on the owner's land are commonsensical but it is worth noting that for different reasons it might be wise to advise the authorities of what you are doing and equally advisable to follow the Environment Agency's guidelines for burial which come under their provision for waste material.