A gentle alternative
Unhurried, tranquil, and private, the burial ground offers a gentle alternative to a traditional cemetery or crematorium. There is space and time to create your own bespoke ceremony within the ethos of the natural burial ground.
Professional funeral directors are there to support you and help you achieve what you want to do. A good funeral director will provide the help and support you need when you need it. If you wish to do as much as you can yourselves, there is no legal requirement in the UK to use a funeral director.
Both family-organised funerals and professional services are welcome. We don’t provide funeral services ourselves but do offer a lot of advice and suggestions.
Coffins and embalming
Coffins should be made from and lined with natural, biodegradable materials. No plastics, MDF or chipboard should be used.
We can’t accept embalmed bodies for burial unless there are exceptional circumstances. Cremated remains contain no residue from embalming chemicals and can therefore be interred in the meadow.
You can choose a plot for a natural burial, or find a place in the meadow to inter cremated remains.
Graves are unmarked, but they are laid out in a grid pattern and we record the location and measurements from survey points. We provide these and other coordinates so you can easily share the location. If you struggle, we can flag the spot for you.
Burial and interment plots are single-depth, and double-plots are side-by-side.
In woodland areas, developing tree roots and canopy prevent new graves from being dug next to older ones, but we will offer the closest possible arrangement when the time comes.
Alternatively, cremated remains can be included in a coffin burial or combined in one ashes plot at the time of interment.
Leaving flowers and mementos
Because these are natural places, any flowers you place on the site will need to be native, indigenous species that will not harm grazing animals or invade habitats. We, therefore, ask that nothing is planted or placed on the grave unless it is run by the custodian and has our consent. Anything that appears without our consent will be removed.
Please make sure this is right for you before you commit to the burial ground. It may not suit everyone but it is important to those who choose our burial grounds for their unspoilt, natural character.
Have more questions?
If you have any more questions, please go to our advice section to find out more information about natural burial. Or alternatively, if you have a specific question about the Dorset Downs natural burial ground, please contact our custodian, Tessa.