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Woodland Burials and Green Funerals

While the vast majority of funerals still take place in a crematorium or other religious buildings, the trend towards green living and increased focus on the environment has brought with it an increase in the number of people looking at greener funeral options.

As the popularity of natural burial grows, the number of woodland burial sites is also on the increase. This increase in the number of options, along with the prospect of laying loved ones to rest surrounded by trees and wildflower is making green funerals an increasingly attractive option for families to say goodbye.

What is a woodland burial?

A woodland burial, also referred to as a green funeral or natural burial, is an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional burials and cremation. Usually set within acres of woodland and surrounded by countryside, most woodland burial sites offer either a burial plot or burial or scattering of ashes.

The idea behind this more natural style of funeral is to minimise the environmental impact of the funeral by choosing sustainable options. By using biodegradable coffins and prohibiting embalming, the burial site is designed to preserve existing woodland sites and the species that live within them. Some sites will also use meadows, orchards or other farmland.

What kind of memorial can I have with a woodland burial?

Rather than a traditional headstone or other memorials, many woodland burial sites are committed to keeping the site as natural as possible, with graves marked by natural memorials such as plants or trees. Some will allow memorials made from natural materials, such as a wooden cross, to be erected.

Woodland burial sites

Woodland or natural burial grounds are often natural settings such as wooded areas, forests or meadows, offering a more beautiful and peaceful resting place for your loved one.

Our caring and professional Funeral Directors will be able to help find a woodland burial ground near you.

What happens at a woodland burial?

Woodland burials are flexible. Generally, you won’t need to follow a traditional agenda, and nor will you need to source funeral hymns or religious readings for the ceremony. However, most woodland burials sites will accommodate your wishes, making religious woodland burials an option for those who want them.

Your ceremony could take many different forms. Some people will choose not to hold a ceremony, others may choose to take a memory walk through the woodland burial site to where your loved one’s memorial is to be placed and share moments of remembrance with close family and friends.

Some woodland burial sites offer use of a building or service centre where a service can be held, if desired. Speak to your local funeral director for more information about the facilities offered at sites near you. Many natural burial sites also have special areas for outdoor wakes, commonly featuring yurts or large tents and gazebos.

A woodland funeral doesn’t need to follow any protocol. As long you stick within the site guidelines, which are generally focused on protecting the site, you can be as flexible as you wish.

Eco-friendly burial options

If your loved one was heavily invested in protecting the planet or showed an interest in being eco-friendly before they passed away, you may want to consider holding an eco burial for them.

An eco burial can be like a green funeral, but with more emphasis on being eco-friendly. For example, you may choose to wrap your loved one’s body in a burial shroud, or travel to the burial site by bicycle rather than vehicle.

Find out more about eco burials.

Eco coffins for a natural burial

If you're considering an eco-friendly burial for your loved one, you may wish to note green funerals and woodland burials often use eco coffins, which are designed to be biodegradable and environmentally friendly. They give you the option of returning loved ones to nature in a dignified yet simplistic manner. If you’re planning a natural burial, you are likely to find that many of the woodland burial sites will allow coffins which minimise the effect on the natural environment of the site.

Eco coffins are usually made from materials such as:

  • Cardboard
  • Bamboo
  • Pine
  • Willow
  • Banana leaf
  • British Wool

How much does a woodland burial cost?

Burial plots at natural or woodland burial grounds can vary significantly, depending on the site you choose and where you live in the UK. It can cost as little as a few hundred pounds and fluctuate to several thousand.

You may also have to pay an additional interment fee, though these do vary between natural burial grounds. Please remember that the overall cost of a green funeral will depend on what other arrangements you choose to make, such as funeral transport and floral tributes.

Our funeral professionals will be on hand to talk you through the costs involved when arranging a woodland burial for a loved one.

If you would like to opt for a woodland burial or green funeral for your loved one, please contact our caring and professional Funeral Directors for more information and to make any necessary arrangements.

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