Are you seeking an alternative to conventional cemeteries or crematorium memorial gardens? Somewhere that is in harmony with the natural world?

Cothiemuir Hill Woodland Burial Ground is a place where timeless tranquillity and environmental sustainability intertwine.

The woodland at Cothiemuir Hill is a peaceful, natural place. Somewhere special to spend time listening to the birdsong in the surrounding woodland, admiring the Neolithic stones, and taking in the view towards Bennachie. A place of escape, away from it all.

Why choose Cothiemuir Hill natural burial ground?

Cothiemuir Hill neolithic stone circle - August 2023

Environmentally Friendly

Natural burial grounds prioritise environmental sustainability. The absence of traditional headstones and the use of biodegradable coffins contribute to a more eco-friendly final resting place.

Cothiemuir Hill woodland burial ground looking toward Bennachie in August 2023

Breathtaking Scenery

Set in a picturesque location in Aberdeenshire, the burial ground provides a tranquil and beautiful backdrop, creating a serene environment for reflection and remembrance.

Memorial Options

Rather than traditional headstones, Dorset Downs offers alternative memorial options such as planting a tree or engraving a stone, allowing for a lasting tribute.

Contact us

Whether you're arranging a funeral now or planning for the future, we are happy to help you with any enquiries

What is a natural burial?

A natural burial, also called a green burial, is an environmentally friendly and eco-conscious approach to laying a loved one to rest. Unlike conventional burials, which often involve embalming, metal or MDF caskets, imported granite headstones and concrete vaults, natural burials are focused on returning the body to the earth in a way that minimises environmental impact.

Here are some key characteristics of a natural burial:

Biodegradable materials

The deceased is typically placed in a biodegradable casket, shroud, or container made from natural materials like wood, wicker, or cloth. These materials break down naturally over time.

No embalming

Embalming, a toxic chemical preservation process, is not used in natural burials. This helps prevent the release of harmful chemicals into the soil.

No plastic

The coffin must be lined with natural materials, rather than a plastic sheet. Flowers should be hand-tied with raffia or natural materials, not wrapped in plastic or set in a foam oasis and a plastic tray.

Digital markers

Unlike cemeteries, the graves are not marked. Instead, we use a digital map and survey points to measure each grave. Families are given the longitude and latitude, as well as a what3words address for the location of their loved one’s grave.

Protecting the landscape

Many natural burial grounds are established in protected, scenic areas, contributing to preserving these natural landscapes. This is certainly the case with Cothiemuir Hill, which is of historic importance due to the neolithic stone circle within the woodland.

Return to the earth

Natural burials support the ecosystem by allowing the body to decompose naturally, enriching the soil with nutrients, and benefiting local flora and fauna.

Ecological coffin made from reclaimed wooden pallets.Biodegradable acorn urn

Types of burial

We provide two options for burials at Cothiemuir Hill: one for whole-body natural burials and the other for ashes. You can purchase plots next to each other, bury multiple sets of ashes together, or inter ashes with someone who is having a full burial.

Visit us or request more information

We would love you to come and explore the serene beauty of Cothiemuir Hill Woodland Burial Ground and discover a gentler natural alternative. You can visit the burial ground any time if you would like to explore alone or contact us to arrange a visit or to learn more about natural burial. Either email us or call us on 01975 562524.

Email us

Where is Cothiemuir Hill woodland burial ground?

We recommend using What3Words to find the burial ground entrance, as the postcode is not accurate. Click on this link to go to the W3W address and you can use this to navigate to the burial ground.

Before you make the decision to purchase a burial or interment plot, we recommend you go to visit the burial ground, to make sure it is the right place for you and your family.

The site is open all year round during daylight hours so please feel free to visit without making an appointment. If you would like a guided tour around the ground, please get in touch with Malcolm Forbes, the landowner and custodian, who will be happy to meet you there.

Download an information pack

Whether you're arranging a funeral now or planning for the future, we have put together information packs for you to download.

Want to find out more?

If you'd like to find out more about the Cothiemuir Hill woodland burial ground, we have plenty more information for you to continue reading...


A full price list is available on our forms and prices page We offer full burial and ashes interments. All of our application forms are available online or via pdf download.


The burial ground was set up as a result of a discussion between Lady Forbes and one of the estate’s fishing tenants who was interested in locating a site for a resting place in a quiet rural setting preferably near a river. Read more about the farm and the custodians who care for it.


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.

Our Scottish Natural Burial Grounds…

How can we help?