The following information may help when you are considering a natural burial.
Do we need a funeral director?
There is no legal requirement to use the services of a funeral director, although many families find the prospect of organising a funeral entirely without support from an undertaker very daunting, not least from a practical point of view.
We have a number of trusted suppliers and are happy to recommend a local funeral director.
How is a natural burial different?
There are over 220 natural burial grounds around the UK as the natural burial movement continues to grow in popularity.
Natural burial grounds include mown wild flower meadows – like Monument Meadow Natural Burial Ground – field sites where new woodland is growing, existing woodland or parkland settings. Natural burials are sometimes called green funerals or green burials and they seek to minimise the impact on the environment.
Rosie Inman-Cook, Manager of The Natural Death Centre Charity, says: “Natural burial is growing in the UK because people are starting to realise that it’s better for the environment. Natural burial is also good for the planet, it’s good for people and it’s good for wildlife.”
- The first natural burial ground was opened in 1993 in Carlisle on a woodland site.
What is a DIY funeral?
A Direct It Yourself funeral is legal and perfectly possible. Our team at Monument Meadow can advise on tailoring a funeral to the specific requests of each family.
What about embalming?
Bodies must not be embalmed prior to burial. This is because the use of formaldehyde for embalming can have an adverse effect on groundwater.
Can we fit multiple sets of ashes into one plot?
You purchase each ashes plot on an individual basis. However, if you purchase a natural plot, then it is possible to bury two or more sets of ashes in the larger plot.
What is the right of burial?
For pre-purchased plots, you are purchasing a right of burial, which is secured for ten years. Should the plot remain unoccupied for ten years from the date of your advance purchase, we require that you contact us and re-sign, at no extra cost, to confirm that you still wish to reserve the plot.
For shorter-term funeral applications, the Right of Burial is granted once the appropriate plot fee has been paid.
How about coffins?
We suggest you secure a suitably biodegradable container prior to burial — for example, softwoods, willow, bamboo, or cardboard. These materials must all be from sustainable sources whether from the UK or abroad. All liners must be biodegradable.
How about transport?
The funeral director will arrange transport. However, if you can fit the coffin into a vehicle that is legal and roadworthy, you can use any vehicle to transfer a coffin. You should cover the coffin with a blanket or similar whilst it is on public view. The legal stipulation is: “It is an offence to expose a dead body near a public highway as this would outrage public decency.” You do not need special insurance to transport a coffin.
How does a natural burial work?
Monument Meadow requires at least 72 hours of notice to arrange a funeral on site. It has its own contractor employed for the digging graves and any associated work.
Prior to each burial taking place, you / the funeral director must provide the appropriate Certificate of Burial from the Registrar, or coroner's paperwork. It is illegal for any burial to take place without presenting this certificate.
All burials are intended to be last resting places and Monument Meadow will only consider requests for exhumation in exceptional circumstances.
Can we play music during a service?
Yes, but please note that there is no electricity on site, so you / the funeral director will need to provide your own Bluetooth device.
How do we source flowers for the funeral?
Monument Meadow works with a local floral design business in the village of Farndon and the owner, Julie, will be happy to advise you on appropriate designs. Please see our Trusted Suppliers: https://monumentmeadow.co.uk/trusted-suppliers
Can we decorate the grave?
No vases, ornaments, artificial, or any other non-natural structure should be placed on or around the grave. Monument Meadow reserves the right to remove and dispose of any inappropriate decoration.
Can we plant a tree?
No. The site is managed and the estate company will provide all landscaping and ground maintenance. All inappropriate plants of any kind will be dug up and removed.
What about memorial plaques?
We work with a local stonemason to provide memorial plaques made from Welsh slate. Please see our Trusted Suppliers: https://monumentmeadow.co.uk/trusted-suppliers Memorial Meadow will undertake to care for memorial plaques on site.
Do we get a plot record?
Monument Meadow will issue a plot receipt. Please keep this safe.
When can we visit our loved ones?
Monument Meadow is a public site and open seven days a week, including public holidays.
Visitors are welcome during daylight hours.
Dogs are welcome to visit if kept on a lead, or if they remain in vehicles. Please remove any dog mess to keep the site safe for others.
There is private parking for up to 29 vehicles with one designated accessible parking space. Please note that there is no WC, water, or electricity on-site.
Is there a public footpath around the site?
A footpath runs along the rear of the meadow, where we scatter ashes. Dog walkers must keep dogs on leads around the site.
Where can we meet family for lunch afterwards?
Monument Meadow recommends Lewis’s coffee shop and The Raven pub, both in Farndon; the latter also offers accommodation. Please see our Trusted Suppliers for more information: https://monumentmeadow.co.uk/trusted-suppliers
Why is there misinformation about funerals?
The Association of Natural Burial Grounds (ANBG) publishes a list of common misconceptions — please see http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk/index.php?page=trying-to-make-sense-of-grief.
The ANBG also runs a free helpline to advise families on natural-death matters. Call 01962 712 690 (normal call rates apply).
How is Monument Meadow regulated?
Monument Meadow is a member of The Association of Natural Burial Grounds (ANBG). The Code of Conduct can be found at http://www.brocklands.co.uk/ANBG%20Code%20of%20Conduct.pdf
Terms and conditions
For Monument Meadow’s full set of terms and conditions, please see https://monumentmeadow.co.uk/terms-and-conditions
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We have come to believe that if people knew they had more choices, they would much rather be in control of their loved ones’ ‘send-off’. Death is inevitable. But having as much input as possible into this last opportunity to celebrate our loved one’s life gives back some of our control.The Natural Death Handbook