Natural burial grounds locally
At Tester & Jones, we have seen a steady rise in the number of people asking about natural burials – where a loved one is laid to rest in a natural habitat such as woodland, species rich meadow or orchard. The person is buried in a biodegradable shroud or a coffin made from a material such as willow or sea grass. Then, rather than a headstone, a tree may be planted or a wooden plaque placed to mark the site.
Data from insurance company SunLife shows that, across the UK, there has been an increase in the number of natural burials – also referred to as green funerals, eco-funerals or woodland burials – from one in 14 in 2016 to one in 11 last year.
The first woodland burial site was opened in 1993 in Carlisle and there are now around 300 around the country.
Here in Crowborough, we have two natural burial grounds fairly close to us – Eden Valley Woodland Burial Ground and Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground. Here’s some information about what they both offer.
Eden Valley Woodland Burial Ground
Based in Edenbridge, this is a 20-acre site, partially covered by ancient bluebell woodland. Burials take place in an area adjacent to the woodland, amongst younger but well established oak trees.
This site has no ceremonial building on-site but the Kent and Surrey Golf Club and Hotel is just next-door and has a function room which can be hired.
Eden Valley welcomes people of all faiths or none and there are no fixed rules or format to be followed. There are also no time limits on services, so families never feel rushed or hurried.
Some choose to hold a ceremony at the graveside, while others arrive for the burial after attending a service in a church or other venue. Sometimes there is no ceremony at all, while other families have a small private interment, followed by a memorial service another day.
For more information, click here: www.edenvalleyburials.org.uk
Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground
Set in 15 acres of countryside within the South Downs National Park, this burial ground is located near Hassocks in West Sussex. Opened in 2008, it has various dedicated areas for full natural burials and cremated remains, surrounded by native trees, as well as memorial scattering lawns.
The site’s philosophy is to create a new wood through the planting of native trees, thereby adding to the country’s tree stock.
Facilities at Clayton Wood include the Oak Service Hall and restrooms. The Hall is suitable for any faith or belief and is available for both funeral and memorial services. Designed to complement its natural setting, the wood timbered building can accommodate up to 60 people and boasts panoramic views over the South Downs.
Graves can be marked with a single wooden plaque. There will biodegrade naturally over time but can be replaced if required. Solid oak memorial benches can also be purchased and will be placed as near to the grave as possible.
Burials are scheduled to ensure that families have all the privacy and time they require.
For more information, click here: www.claytonwood.co.uk
Posted: 28th of March 2018