Woodland burial grounds

What is a woodland burial ground and why might you choose one as a final resting place?

Photo of Greenacres Cemetery and Ceremonial Park, Epping Forest
Winter snow scene at St Albans Woodland Burial Ground, Keysoe, Bedfordshire.

Woodland burial sites seek to operate in harmony with the environment, and to offer those left behind a beautiful and peaceful place to visit to remember their loved ones. Although only a couple of woodland burial sites within England are consecrated, St Albans Woodland Burial Trust at Keysoe being one of them, those that are not consecrated usually have trust arrangements in place to protect the land from development by future generations. 

Some woodland burial grounds, such as those belonging to the GreenAcres group, have beautiful ceremonial halls and waiting rooms, which can then double as wake venues after the service. 

Photo of ceremonial hall at Greenacres Chiltern Cemetery and Ceremonial Park.

For those who regard their pets as members of the family, being able to bring the dog when visiting a loved one's resting place, and then being able to take therapeutic walks along wooded trails afterwards, is a real attraction, particularly given many traditional cemeteries and gardens of remembrance do not allow pet visitors. Some woodland grounds, such as Penwith Woodland Burial Ground, will also allow pet ashes to be interred alongside their owners.

As per meadow burials, the majority of woodland sites request that bodies are not embalmed prior to burial, and for coffins to be made from biodegradable materials. Many  sites also prefer to inter rather than scatter ashes because of the impact ashes have upon the pH of the soil, although the GreenAcres sites do have dedicated ash scattering areas in their woodlands.