A few of the hidden gems at Usk Castle Chase natural burial ground

1st July 2020#history#nature#usk-castle-chase
A few of the hidden gems at Usk Castle Chase natural burial ground

James Leedam


Some already know Usk Castle Chase for the beautiful and peaceful and beautiful resting places it offers. It is somewhere families can arrange a personal send-off. These can be simple or extravagant, traditional or off-beat, celebratory or ceremonial. But there are a few things they all have in common. They are eco-friendly, closer to nature and give families the freedom to arrange the funeral they want in unhurried surroundings.

When someone becomes a part of the natural burial ground they become a special part of its history. Sometimes we have the privilege to hear about their life, who they were and why a natural burial was right for them. Occasionally, during these conversations, their family find out something they never knew. A hidden gem that conjures up a smile.

​We thought it might be nice to share a few of the hidden gems at Usk Castle Chase. Some of these are so well hidden they are easy to overlook, even when visiting the natural burial ground.

The Fox Hole

Hidden away in the burial meadow, we have a Foxhole. Not the kind that you find a fox and cubs, but one created for the Usk Resistance in World War II. It was part of an underground movement to disrupt invaders if they ever managed to reach Usk. Owen Sheers’ book, ‘Resistance’, goes into the history of this in a bit more detail. However, this Foxhole has been carefully restored with the help of CADW. It remains one of our hidden gems, as many walk past it without realising it is there. But it if you find it you will see how secretive and hidden this part of the war effort was. It is an important part of our history and one we want to share.

A dappled bank of blue

If you visit the burial meadow during mid-spring (often in May) you may catch a glimpse of our ‘dappled bank of blue’. This is when the bluebells are out and the woodland’s transformed into a sea of blue. It appears for only a few months but is a beautiful sight and one worth seeing if you love wildflowers. It also attracts some wonderful wildlife too including our much-loved bumblebees.

Usk Castle

A mile from the burial ground is Usk Castle itself. It may not be completely hidden, but it is one of our gems as in the past the land the burial ground now occupies was part of the castle’s hunting grounds. It was an important part of the Castle’s history and everyday life. The burial meadow is still an important part of the castles and history and shares it’s its name with the castle. It also has the unique opportunity where those that love history and nature may wish to incorporate a church ceremony in the castle chapel followed by a natural burial.

No longer used as a hunting ground the area in which the burial ground lies has a much more peaceful and tranquil purpose. It offers natural burials that help those who love nature find a peaceful resting place within nature. It now also helps to protect and conserve our native wildlife and native habitats.

A Magical Visit

Just before Christmas, near the burial meadow, we often see a few special visitors. These are nature’s majestic reindeer. On the day of the reindeer parade, you can go and visit them and see for yourself how beautiful they are. These have previously been overnight residents at the natural burial meadow. Now you will find them at the Castle itself and bring a magical atmosphere to Usk Castle Chase. Rosie, the landowner and custodian of the natural burial ground, organises this event. She has said, “I do it because I think it’s important that the children get a chance to see the reindeer”. It helps to build the magic of the season. They work so hard for Santa so it’s only right they get the appreciation they deserve.

You may want to keep an eye out for events like the reindeer parade by following our social media. Sometimes we are able to share these on our Facebook and Instagram.

Find out more

To find out more about Usk Castle Chase Natural Burial Meadow you can contact Rosie by email or phone.