Woodland burials

Carrying of the coffin

Set in the peace and tranquillity of the trees and flowers, a woodland burial ground provides a natural alternative to a traditional cemetery or graveyard. With the growing trend of eco-friendly funerals, the number of woodland burial plots are on the rise.

What is a natural burial?

A natural burial is an eco-friendly way of laying a body to rest in the ground, without a traditional coffin or headstone. It's the greener way of allowing a body to decompose naturally, with less impact on the environment. Natural burials usually take place in a woodland area, and are also known as woodland burials or green burials.

A woodland burial is a good option if you wish to have a non-religious funeral or would prefer being laid to rest in a more natural way.

What happens at a woodland burial?

A woodland burial involves a body, or cremated ashes, being laid into the ground using biodegradable coffins or caskets.

Woodland burial services are very flexible, as they don't need to follow religious traditions or protocol. You can choose to have a ceremony around the burial, or choose not to have one at all. Most woodland burial sites will be able to accommodate your wishes, so long as they're within the site guidelines and keep the area protected.

Some woodland burial sites have a small building where ceremonies can be held and some can also arrange religious woodland burials, if required.

What is a woodland burial site?

Woodland burial sites tend to be either wooded areas within a large cemetery, or designated green spaces in a forest, wood or meadow.

The peaceful grounds of a woodland cemetery are a tranquil final resting place and a beautiful setting for visitors to spend time remembering their loved ones. Set within acres of natural countryside our woodland burial grounds offer a truly beautiful alternative to a traditional cemetery.

What coffins are used at a natural burial?

Traditional coffins and caskets are usually not allowed in woodland and natural burials. This protects the natural environment of the burial grounds. Instead, your funeral director will suggest an alternative range of eco coffins, which will easily decompose and be environmentally friendly. These eco coffins are made from cardboard, wicker, bamboo or willow.

Can I be buried without a casket?

Some natural burial grounds will also allow the use of a cotton shroud instead of a coffin or casket. Embalming is not allowed, due to the chemicals used.

Can you lay a plaque or headstone at a woodland burial?

Instead of a traditional headstone, graves are marked by the planting of a memorial tree or the placing of a simple bronze plaque. There's a focus on preserving the natural beauty of the woodland environment and encouraging native wildlife and flowers.

We are committed to ensuring that the landscape of our woodland burial grounds can be treasured by future generations.

How much does a woodland burial cost?

The cost of a woodland burial will depend on the area that you live. Natural or green burials can work out cheaper than traditional funerals, but it depends on the location. The cost of the plot can be a few hundred pounds or up to a thousand, depending on the area that you choose for your plot.

Please note that there will be the added costs of the coffin and other potential fees to consider. Speak to your local funeral director about purchasing a woodland burial plot and they can give you your options.

How to find a local woodland cemetery

As more people are choosing an eco-friendly option, we’re now able to extend the choices available through GreenAcres, who manage over 220 acres of beautiful English Woodland as havens for wildlife and the regeneration of native woodlands, wonderful places to commemorate your loved ones.

GreenAcres currently have five parks, four in the South of England and one in the North West, all of which offer burial and ashes plots and have a ceremonial building providing full funeral service facilities, allowing you to say goodbye in a tranquil and beautiful setting.

Colney in Norfolk

Epping Forest in Essex

Chiltern in Buckinghamshire

Rainford in Merseyside

Heatherley Wood in East Hampshire

Greenacres offer Co-op Members a 10% discount on their burial and ashes plots.*

At Co-op Funeralcare we’re here to help you arrange a funeral exactly the way you want it, whenever you need us.

*Visit any of the Co-op funeral homes within a 30 minute drive from the park of your choice to get your discount code which you’ll need to get your discount at your chosen GreenAcres park. The teams at GreenAcres will be more than happy to show you around and discuss your choices with you.