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

association of natural burial grounds

About the Association of Natural Burial Grounds

Westall park is a member of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds. This organisation was first set up by the Natural Death Centre which was founded in 1994. It encourages all natural burial grounds to become members so that it can provide effective guidance and a framework of best practices which members can adhere to. It also provides a degree of protection for families using member’s services, and a formal body to approach with concerns or complaints which may not have been resolved with the member themselves.

The association and its role

Although the association does not enforced membership, it is a really good way of ensuring that you have confidence in the service we provide at Westall Park. Membership means that we take our standards of service very seriously. It also shows that we operate in accordance with the best natural burial practices. One of the most vital rolls for the ANBC is to monitor its members. In order to make sure our practices and procedures are transparent we must provide families with opportunities to give feedback on our services direct to the Association. This means that any problems raised come to their attention immediately and you can be confident that a positive experience of natural burial is the priority for both us at Westall Park, and the ANBC. The association is also there to offer their technical advice and experience to us as we develop our natural burial site and the services we provide.

Insuring the best practices for you and your family

Because we are members of the ANBC we have agreed to follow their code of conduct which is aimed at making sure members operate according to best practices. Best practice not only applies to the way in which we cater for the families and friends of the deceased, but it also applies to the woodland burial ethos, and how we ensure that our burials are ecologically sensitive. It guides our policies on the use of caskets, grave markings and the manner in which we manage our woodland burial ground now and in the future.

One of the most important directives from the ANBC , is that all members must allow families to forgo the use of a funeral director and organise the funeral themselves. In addition they stipulate that we must have an efficient and sensitive procedure for handling any complains, and provide a formal body which you may go to if you feel your complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction. If you would like to learn more about how we are regulated and the work of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds then visit www.naturaldeath.org.uk.

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.

man

Why choose a natural burial?

Natural burial at Westall ParkNatural burials (also known as “green burials”, “woodland burials” or “eco-friendly burials”) are becoming ever more popular.  In fact it seems that we in the UK are leading the world in natural burials with over 260 natural burial sites across the country.  Since the ’80s there has been a steady increase in the numbers of people opting for this as their preferred way to say their last goodbyes.  There are a number of simple reasons why it has become such an attractive option:

  1. Traditional burials typically involve burying a lot of toxic embalming fluids, metal and other non-environmentally friendly products.  Cremations also leave a significant environmental footprint.  Natural burials strive to ensure that you leave no negative impact on our environment, and in essence you are able to positively give back to nature rather than impact it negatively.
  2. A natural burial is a great way to reduce the burden on the family and friends you leave behind – there are no graves to tend, and the burial process is far simpler than a traditional casket and cemetery burial.  We let nature take care of everything.
  3. Burial costs tend to be lower than traditional funerals, further reducing the burden on the family left behind.
  4. Many people are attracted by the notion of a reconnecting with nature and a “return to the earth”.  Natural burials are just that – a natural and simple way of returning to the earth and returning to nature.
  5. Traditional cemeteries are typically sombre places to visit.  Natural burial grounds offer a beautiful and nature-filled place where friends and family can come and visit and remember loved ones in a wonderful environment.

If you have any questions at all about what a natural burial entails then please feel free to get in touch with Amy or Dan on 01386 792806 or email us at info@westallpark.co.uk.