Woodland burials or burials in which the deceased is interred in natural woodland surroundings rather than formal cemeteries or graveyards, are becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom. Very often these burials are less expensive than traditional interments, and it is believed that they are more environmentally friendly as well. In addition, the fact that traditional interment areas are running out of space while there is no shortage of woodland burial sites makes these increasingly attractive options.
About Woodland BurialsWoodland burials are not simply the act of burying a loved one in a natural setting. Woodland sites have been set aside and are managed similarly to traditional graveyards or cemeteries in order to ensure that all burials conform to legal regulations. However, unlike graveyards or cemeteries in which a plot is leased rather than owned and so may be re-used again in the future, woodland burial sites tend to offer permanent burial sites meaning that the deceased’s remains will not likely be disturbed in the future. These sites are not marked with headstones or memorials, so there is no particular upkeep or anything marring the beauty of the natural setting. Instead, wooden plaques are often used to mark burial sites, and they may be replaced when they naturally biodegrade.
Organising a Woodland BurialWoodland burial grounds are not often restricted according to religion, and in fact most operate with a welcoming attitude towards all individuals or families interested in their services. It is often possible for families and friends to reserve sites or plots next to each other in order that they may be assured of being buried near their loved ones, and some woodland burial grounds offer prices that are finalised at the time of reservation and thus can not be increased at a later time. Usually these prices are not higher for people who live outside of the local area. To prove this price and reservation, certificates may be issued. Reservations may be made for full burials or the interment of ashes in a woodland setting, and services conducted on the grounds before the interment may be religious or secular, formal or informal. In general, woodland burial grounds strive to be open and accommodating to all preferences.
Following a Woodland BurialWoodland burial grounds offer unrestricted access for family and friends to visit following the burial. Most grounds have no official opening hours because they do not officially close or restrict access for visitors. Following a burial, very often a tree may be planted both to commemorate the interment and to further build up the woodland area. When these areas flourish, they then become a welcoming home for vegetation and local animals. Many grounds also operate strictly within the approval of Wildlife Trusts, so that not only will wildlife not be harmed by their operations but will indeed benefit from them.
Woodland burials, or burials in managed woodland schemes, are preferred by many individuals due to their lower costs, greater benefits for the environment, welcoming attitude towards all religions and beliefs, and the beautiful surroundings that they offer. For further information on woodland burials in the United Kingdom, contact the Natural Death Centre (www.naturaldeath.org.uk) on 0871 288 2098. Their Natural Death Handbook will explain further how to organise a woodland burial with or without the services of a professional funeral director.