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What Is A Woodland Burial?

Preparing for Death

Many people don't realize that a regular burial is not very environmentally friendly. Your clothes and casket could well contain materials that won't degrade and there is also embalming fluid that preserves the body and contains harsh chemicals.

A woodland burial aims to avoid all of that by giving your body back to nature. You’ll be buried in natural surroundings and in a way that won’t be damaging to the environment. Many people love the idea of a more natural way of saying goodbye to the world.

Where do woodland burials take place?

Your body isn't going to be placed and left in a random bit of woodland. There are specific woodland burial sites that are run for this purpose. The aim is to give something back to the environment without damaging it in many of the usual ways.

How are woodland burials different?

There are many methods used with traditional burials that aren’t compatible with woodland burials. Here we take a look at all the ways they are different.

Preparing the body – Embalming fluid is used to temporarily halt the decay of bodies for the purposes of allowing a funeral with the possibility of an open casket. It can help to restore a lifelike physical appearance that can bring comfort to families.

The problem is that embalming chemicals and seep into the groundwater and prevent natural decomposition long after burial. A woodland burial site will almost certainly prevent burials of persons who have been embalmed.

Clothing – Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, spandex and nylon can take up to 200 years to degrade in the ground. For a woodland burial, the deceased would be expected to wear natural clothing such as wool and cotton.

Coffin – Expensive coffins will contain synthetic materials, treated metal and toxic glue. You can instead use a natural coffin that is biodegradable. A common coffin material for woodland burials is willow but there are other options too such as a shroud.

Location marking – Instead of a headstone, it’d likely that you can do something else such as plant a tree or use a geotag. A plaque may sometimes be allowed but other sites don’t allow any marking of the site at all. Any wreaths used would have to be completely natural.

Grave height – The lower down you go, the less microbial activity you’re going to have. Due to that, graves tend to be a little shallower with woodland burials This will allow the body to reconnect with nature quicker.

Where can I have a woodland funeral?

Your options aren’t going to be as vast as with traditional funerals but there are plenty of woodland burial sites around the UK. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding a site that is fairly close to where you live but some traveling may be required.

It’s important to note that not every site is going to have the same rules and some would be stricter than others. Due to that, you may be forced to look for a different site to get what you want but most sites are fairly similar.

Why do people choose a woodland cemetery?

There are many nature lovers out there who hate the idea of their funeral being bad for the environment. A woodland burial is ideal for anyone who wants to have an environmentally friendly funeral once they pass away.

Woodland burial sites are peaceful places that are left to nature and undisturbed. As well as the body being surrounded by natural beauty, it can give the family comfort that their loved one has been laid to rest in such a peaceful place.

These types of burials can also be cheaper than other types where you're not paying maintenance fees or for expensive coffins. They allow the body to be given back to nature without leaving the surviving family with a huge financial burden.

The cost of a woodland burial

The prices can vary greatly from one plot to the next but you’ll usually be able to find one for around £1,000 but it could be more or less than that. On top of that, there can also be additional extras that you can pay for such as having a double plot. Many of them will also offer a planting service to enable you to have a tree where your loved one is buried. Some sites may also offer a plaque or wildlife box for an extra fee.

Along with that, you'll also have the regular costs of any funeral such as the use of a funeral director, coffin and flowers. When it's all added up, the cost of a woodland burial can still be significantly cheaper than other options.

Is a woodland funeral right for me?

Some people love the idea of their body returning to nature while others will want something more traditional. Whatever decision you make, ensure that you're doing it for your reasons. A funeral is a very personal thing and you'll want to ensure that your wishes are met.

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