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Woodland burials

For the increasing number of people who want a 'green', or environmentally friendly funeral, there are now over 200 woodland burial sites throughout the UK.

Some are operated by local authorities, others run as businesses, and some are non-profit or charitable concerns.  They range from nature reserves, to flower meadows, woodlands or re-used agricultural land that is turned into woodlands or meadows.

Woodland burial sites are rarely consecrated, and woodland burials appeal more to the non-religious. However, it is possible to have a religious service when the coffin is being intered, or in a suitable building at the site or at a chapel or church.

Headstones aren't allowed, and the grave is usually marked by a young tree or bush.  Graves may also be marked with a microchip or GPS coordinates so that they can be found by visiting family and friends.

Some burial grounds will provide additional services such as transporting the body and supplying the biodegradable coffin. These services are helpful for those organising a DIY funeral and therefore reducing the role of the funeral director.

More funeral directors are now able to organise a woodland burial for their clients.

There are an increasing number of biodegradable coffins and shrouds available, with bespoke designs if required.

When choosing the most suitable woodland burial site, consider how long the burial rights will last and what happen to the grave when these run out or when the site is full. 

Plan ahead and visit two or three convenient woodland burial sites...do you like the view, the atmosphere, the extent to which the area is 'natural' or is tended?

Once you have made your decision, tell your executor and nearest family members. 

Add it to your funeral wish list and put it in your Lifebox. This is a secure access area which can only be opened by the second keyholder on your death or when you give permission.

For more information on Woodland burials, visit the Natural Death Centre.

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