Coming soon: a low-impact, environmentally sensitive option for burial and ashes scattering.
Credit: Ross Hoddinott / 2020VISION / naturepl.com
Natural burials provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burial or cremation that has minimal impact on the landscape and are managed using environmentally sustainable methods.
We have contemplated offering natural burials for many years, since discussions took place some two decades ago with Ken West MBE, founder of the natural burial movement. We want to allow people to make an end of life choice which shares our passion for woods and trees and helps continue our vital work.
We are now developing plans for a natural burial ground with the aim of offering people a low-impact, environmentally sensitive way of being buried. It could see 40 acres of countryside in the heart of England transformed into a tree-studded sanctuary, filled with birdsong and perfect for quiet remembrance.
As the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, we want to use our expertise to create beautiful and thriving places for burials. We also aim to offer services to bury or scatter ashes, plant UK sourced native trees as a fitting legacy, and offer memorials such as benches and bird boxes. Over time these spaces will become a place where nature can flourish, through a living, lasting memorial to all those chosen to be buried or remembered there regardless of culture, faith or belief.
Why is the Woodland Trust looking to open a natural burial ground?
We have contemplated offering natural burials for many years. It’s also something that many of our members and supporters have expressed an interest in.
Natural burials address a chronic shortage of burial space in the UK, and our position as a national charity dedicated to woodland conservation and the environmental benefits of natural burial have combined to bring this project to life.
How soon could the Woodland Trust open its first natural burial ground?
Negotiations to acquire a site are underway and if successful, we intend to obtain planning permission to establish a natural burial ground. At this stage it is hard to give an exact time we would be able to open. As with any site the Trust acquires, we need to ensure that we follow the necessary procedures and processes required for a site of this nature. We will work closely with planning authorities and advisors, local communities and businesses, and of course, keep our valued members and supporters up to date.
What is a natural burial?
Natural burials provide an environmentally responsible alternative to traditional burial or cremation that has minimal impact on the landscape and which enhances the land through managing it for increased biodiversity. The provision of plots on the land will help with local shortages of burial space, and provide those who choose cremation the opportunity to bury or scatter ashes in a beautiful local setting as part of the creation of the woodland.