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Frequently Asked Questions
What does a natural burial mean?
Natural burial is a funeral that seeks to minimise its impact on the environment. At its simplest level means that the body will be buried in natural materials which will biodegrade to leave behind no harmful substances. In practice this means that people choose simple pine or cardboard coffins, papier mache pods and woollen shrouds, wicker or bamboo caskets instead of commercially mass produced coffins which often use environmentally unfriendly plastics and metals and materials such as mdf or chipboard. To prevent harmful chemicals from entering the soil and ground water systems it is important that bodies are not embalmed before burial.
How does it work?
A natural burial can be part of a traditional funeral, or a completely different and individual celebration of your choice. You can organise funeral arrangements with a local funeral director who is in tune with your wishes, and do as much as you wish to do yourselves. From us you can reserve single and double burial plots as well as plots where you can inter ashes and areas where ashes can be scattered.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary from site to site - typically ranging from £580 to £3,045 for a single burial plot; plots for ashes start from £300 for a single plot. Special arrangements can be be made if you wish to reserve a particular area of a site for family burials.
What is included?
What you are buying from Native Woodland is a right to be buried in your chosen area of the burial ground at any time during the 50 year period after your purchase. This is the same as the Rights of Burial that you would purchase from the council or church although nowadays they will often only offer a 25 year Right of Burial because of pressure on cemetery space. If, for example, if you are aged 45 now and purchase a plot on one of our sites, that plot is available to you until you are 95.You will not be asked for any further contributions towards the maintenance of the land.
What is not included?
Purchasing a plot from Native Woodland is simply that - we provide beautiful natural places in which to be buried. You will need to make separate arrangements for the funeral services, grave digging, and any other service rites or ceremonies you wish to conduct - to help you do this, we provide a list of local contacts who will be able to provide a wide range of the services you might wish to use.
How do you know where your plot will be?
You can choose which area of the site you would prefer the plot to be in and when it is time for the burial, the exact position of the grave will be the next available plot in that area. The grave position is recorded on a plan of the site and this will be kept in a Site Register, open to the public, held by Native Woodland.
What memorials are there?
There are generally no headstones or surrounds to the graves as these would detract from the natural landscape which we are aiming to preserve.
In woodland areas you can commission a memorial stone, using a small, local field-stone which can be engraved with names and dates. No foreign or polished stones are permitted.
You can arrange for a tree to be planted where a site has a designated tree-planting area.
There is sometimes a memorial structure at the site where the names and dates of those buried at the site can be inscribed. Each site has its own particular arrangements which are outlined in the site information sheet.
Do we pay for the plot first then organise a date of our choice?
Yes, we will need to sort out a date that is convenient for you and for the grave digger, who will arrange for the plot to be opened.
Do we dig the plot ourselves?
No, that is done by our grave-digger.
How much help do we get in organising the whole process?
We will give you all the assistance you require, and will put you in touch with local suppliers and service providers.
Does anyone come along to assist on the date we choose?
Usually the custodian will be there to meet the funeral party; the grave will be prepared in readiness for you and will be back-filled after the ceremony. We can also recommended a funeral director and/or a "celebrant" who are fully acquainted with the burial ground, who can help with practical matters and provide you with a framework for the service if you wish.
Can we plant anything or leave flowers by the plot?
By all means leave a bunch or posy of flowers by the plot (these will be collected after 7 days). Planting is managed by our site operators, and we have a list of native trees, plants and shrubs that can be planted in designated areas by making arrangement with us. Planting is guided by the Wildlife Trust or a specialist ecologist.
Will the family have access to the site/plot for the rest of our lives?
Yes, and in Scotland, Scottish Law provides a right of access to all.
Will the site remain as a natural burial site in the future?
Yes, there is no likelihood whatsoever that any other development will take place at the sites we have selected.
Is there enough room on site to get a further plot close to the first plot if we wished to do so?
Yes, but if you wish the plots to be next to each other, you should reserve a group of plots now, so that we can reserve adjacent plots after the first is used.
We are not sure if we will be able to visit the site prior to obtaining a plot. Are there any photo's we can access to cross reference with a site map?
We have added more photos with descriptions and cross-references between the photos and the named areas.
Is the burial scheme for local people?
The scheme is open to everyone - any age, creed, race or nationality - there is no discrimination.