Natural burial at Westall Park

Autumn Notice

The weather has been kind to us towards the end of summer so we have managed to cut the grass in the Park in record time. This has been part due to the help of our new groundsman Carl, who has quickly become one of the team. You will see him working in the Park over the coming months so please feel free to say hello!

To keep the Park in its natural state we would like to remind visitors not to compost or garden plots in any way as this goes against the ethos of the park and can be damaging and upsetting to all who abide by and respect the whole concept of natural burial. We have a selection of wildflower seeds specifically chosen for the soil conditions here. These are available from the office upon request for anyone wishing to sow seeds on a loved ones plot. If there is anything you wish to plant yourselves we would kindly ask you to check with us first to make sure it is appropriate. Throughout the winter we will be topping up plots new AND old to ensure they all are at ground level, so don’t worry if a grave a few years old has been laid with new soil, we are just ensuring the safety of the terrain.

A couple of years ago we re-designed our plaques and now offer a new sandstone effect acrylic plaque that sits flush with the ground. Not only will they last much longer than our old wooden plaques but they are less intrusive visually, less of a trip hazard and enable us to manage the park much more efficiently. For anyone who has a wooden plaque that is falling into disrepair we offer a renewal service to change from the old plaque for a new sandstone effect one for £50. Whilst cutting the grass this year we removed plaques that are no longer fit for purpose, so if you visit and find it missing, please call in to the office or telephone us to discuss.

Just to remind visitors the gate will be opened at 9am and locked at 5pm throughout the year. We do have a couple of parking spaces in front of the main gate for anyone wanting to visit out of hours and don’t mind a nice evening walk. We regret that we can not keep the Park gate open later than 5pm, but we must make sure that the Park is secured when staff leave the premises, as all cemeteries do.

Many Thanks

Amy and Dan

natural burial grounds in England

The history of Natural Burial grounds in England and the UK

This article will give you a quick overview of how the concept and practices of Natural Burial grounds in England and across the UK have developed. It all began not very long ago at all in Cumbria. The local manager of the Carlyle cemetery noticed that there were a number of clear and obvious advantages to a natural burial that would appeal to many people. The lack of environmental impact in comparison to traditional burials was clear. The use of damaging embalming fluids, the fuel and carbon emissions from cremations, and the general cost and ecological impact which body interment resulted in, could all be eradicated quite easily through ecologically friendly burial practices.

Carlyle City Counsel then opened the first of what were to be many natural burial grounds in England and the UK. Their popularity meant that many local councils followed suit and encouraged further development of the idea as a way to reduce environmental impact of traditional cemetery burials in their regions. In addition it safeguarded additional green space for the local communities as well as satisfying the growing demand for additional and much-needed burial space.

As demand for natural burials in the UK grew, so did the number of woodland burial sites, not only from local councils but also from private companies setting up their own sites across England. The Association of Natural Burial Grounds (ANBG) was then created to promote this new concept and bring its ethos to the attention of both the wider public, and private industry. It also set up codes of practice which members agree to follow although it does not enforce membership or inspect natural burial grounds. Into the 21st century and the number of sites is well over 200. Many are run by local councils for the benefit of local residents, but there are a growing number run by charities, private businesses and also many landowners and farmers seeking to put their land to profitable use.

At present the trend for an ecologically sensitive natural burial shows no signs of slowing down. Many people today are much more aware of the impact that their burial may have on the environment and are far more willing to seek out alternatives. With the publicity work of the associated new bodies and the continuing increase in interest in this practice, there are sure to be many more natural burial grounds which open over the coming years.