Britain’s cemeteries are full, and cremation wastes energy and
releases greenhouse gases. Why not buy a plot in a field and ask your relatives to
plant a tree over your grave? If
others do the same and you all attach an entail to the land, you’ve created a
protected wood. Who
wouldn’t prefer feeding English oaks to pushing up daisies?
With more than 160 sites in the UK, woodland burial is taking off. Clovery Woods in Aberdeenshire opened last month with room for 12,000 bodies in 37 acres. Some smaller sites are less than an acre in size. Churches own some sites, local authorities and private landowners the rest. Typically farmers turn over a field or two to woodland burials, and contract out the running to a local funeral director and forester. It is an ideal source of income as the EU cuts farm subsidies.
Some people want to be buried in an established wood, but most prefer an
ordinary field in the hope that in this way they can help create woodland.
Many sites insist on cardboard coffins but most allow a wide range of
types of funeral. The costs of a
plot range from a few hundred to over a thousand pounds.
The Natural Death Centre in London estimates that hundreds of people are
now being buried this way every month.
It looks like unmitigated good news. A couple of thousand acres of permanent broad leafed woodland will be created over the next 30 years or so by the voluntary contributions of private individuals looking for a tasteful burial site. Lets hope the idea takes off.
Jim Thornton 9 Sept 2002
Click here for some woodland burial sites in the UK
Not everyone is convinced. Read a critique of woodland burial here.
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