An Introduction to UK Woodland Burials

There can be few more peaceful, unspoilt places than woods and forests. UK woodland burial sites provide truly special final resting places for loved ones, while visiting them can bring great comfort to the bereaved.

As their leaves grow, create vibrant canopies then fall, trees reflect the passage of time. Their changing appearance is a gentle reminder of the journey from life to death. It also encourages us to think about the continuation of life: old leaves fall, but soon new ones will appear.

The well-loved writer Pam Ayres articulates the appeal of a natural funeral in her poem ‘Woodland Burial’:

‘Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold,
Little seeds investigate, and tender leaves unfold’.

Making a Positive Impact on the Environment

Woodland burials are an inspiring alternative to cemetery burials, not least because they’re particularly kind to nature. A woodland burial is an excellent option if you’re saying farewell to someone who loved the great outdoors.

We’re all aware of the planet’s plight these days, and the vast majority of people in the UK are now keen to be ‘green’. According to consumer research published by Retail Times, 80% of the country’s adults strive to make environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.

The desire to care for the environment affects not only the way eco-conscious individuals live but also the way some choose to be laid to rest when the time comes. The popularity of natural, green ceremonies such as woodland burials is increasing, as the Independent reports. ‘As people have sought to reduce their environmental impact in life, so too have many looked to do the same in death,’ it points out.

Woodland Burials Help to Protect the Countryside

There are two main reasons why woodland burials have a reputation for being eco-friendly:

  1. Natural and biodegradable materials are used to make coffins and grave markers. Lightweight willow and wicker coffins are preferred, as they’re kinder to the environment than the traditional hardwood and metal variety. Instead of headstones, woodland sites feature natural memorials that blend in with their surroundings, such as wooden plaques and memorial trees. (Planting a tree is a particularly inspiring way to remember a lost loved one, as it enables you to pay your respects while contributing to the well-being of future generations.)
  2. Money spent on the burials often goes towards conserving the woods and forests in which they take place. That’s because many woodland burial sites are managed by organisations staffed by people who are just as keen to look after the natural world as those attending the ceremonies.

Tailored to Your Loved One’s Wishes

Another advantage of woodland burials is they’re adaptable and inclusive. ‘A woodland burial doesn’t need to follow any specific conventions or traditions so long as you stick to the unique guidelines of your chosen site,’ the legal experts at Farewill emphasise.

The funeral order of service preceding a woodland burial can be religious or non-religious (or you can choose not to have a service at all). It can take place outdoors or indoors. You may be able to incorporate healing, nature-focused activities into the funeral order of service and burial, such as the scattering of wildflower seeds around the burial plot. Some sites offer plots on both consecrated and non-consecrated ground.

Alternatively, you could inter or scatter ashes at a woodland burial site, perhaps during a memorial event.

Finding the Ideal Woodland Burial Site

The Natural Death Centre has published an extensive list of natural burial grounds in the UK, including woodland areas, to help people find the ideal site.

The stunning sites include:


Perfectly Natural Coffins for Woodland Burials

Sussex Willow Coffins create beautifully handcrafted, eco-friendly coffins and supply both to the trade and families nationwide. Handwoven at a small workshop in the heart of the Sussex countryside, these wicker caskets are individually handmade entirely from natural materials.

These coffins are certified for cremation (by FFMA) as well as being well suited to woodland burial and natural funerals. The company also has a fantastic article and free PDF guide to arranging an independent funeral here.


First-Class UK Funeral Stationery Templates

If you’re organising a woodland funeral service and burial – or any other kind of funeral – we can supply 1st class UK funeral stationery designed to be treasured for years to come.

Simply customise our beautiful templates for funeral order of service booklets or other stationery with your choice of photos and text, and we’ll print your order to the highest standards. You can receive the funeral stationery as soon as the next day.

We’ve received hundreds of 5* ratings from customers and look forward to helping you too.

Any questions? Feel free to contact us for prompt assistance.