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Spring brings traditions of Easter, school holidays, time jumping forward an hour.  As funeral directors, Spring can also trigger a rise in queries around natural or woodland funerals.

Here’s our answers to six most frequently asked questions.

1.       Where?

In the UK, natural or woodland burials take place in designated sites.  Space can be allocated within an existing cemetery or within a woodland or meadow which is specifically set aside and protected for burials. Today, a mix of private land owners and public authorities manage sites throughout the country.

2.       What?

Natural or woodland burials are considered an environmentally friendly funeral option.  However as such, they may have restrictions such as:

·       Bio-degradable coffins only: wood, natural material or a cotton shroud which removes the use of any metal or non-compostable material

·       Traditional tombstones and memorials are replaced with grave markers.  These vary from small stones to name plaques on the ground or wooden tree guards and are dependent on the site’s preferences.  Essentially, sites are designed to be as natural as possible.

·       Rights to the ground also varies compared to traditional cemeteries.  Many sites are frequented by walkers, or in a larger wood/forest, so the area is accessed by a wide population to be open, inclusive and natural.

3.       Advantages?

Natural burials can be more intimate and less formal than traditional services.  For example:

·       Dress codes are often weather or environmentally determined which can remove some of the formalities.

·       Families can enjoy a dram, leave unwrapped flowers and, depending on the site’s rules, even plant bulbs by the grave.

·       Car parking and access to the site may limit numbers, but equally, it may remove some of the stigmas associated with crematoria and other venues.

4.       Differences?

Even though it’s outside, it’s possible to have a full funeral service including officiant, guests, singing and readings enabling mourners to experience the ritual of saying goodbye.  And If it’s physically feasible, we’ll try to supply AV services to record or live-stream the funeral, and provide music to accompany singing. As experienced funeral directors, we appreciate the importance of having a keepsake and enabling families to have the send-off that’s “just right”, even if this means pushing the technical boundaries.

5.       How?

It’s rare to be able to reserve space in advance allowing space to be used by people at need now.  Speak to one of our team about local sites and other ideas for natural or woodland funerals.

6.       Expense?

Cost wise, these burials are fairly similar to a traditional burial depending on the area and the availability of land.  Grave-digger or interment fees will usually apply as will any third party costs typically associated with funerals: catering, floral tributes, or orders of service.

For funerals in Moray, Aberdeenshire, Tayside, Fife, Central, Mid or East Lothian, Borders, or Northumberland, speak to us about natural or woodland options near you.