Across the UK, more and more people are choosing non-religious funerals as a way to celebrate life in a unique and personalised style. Whether you identify as atheist, agnostic, or simply prefer a secular approach, some options allow you to bid farewell in a beautiful alternative to a churchyard or a crematorium.
Non-religious funerals offer a departure from traditional religious ceremonies, providing a platform for a more personalised farewell. These ceremonies focus on celebrating the life lived rather than adhering to religious rituals. They allow for creativity and flexibility, encouraging mourners to share stories, memories, and anecdotes that truly capture the essence of the departed.
For those seeking an alternative to traditional churchyards, natural burial grounds present a serene and eco-friendly option. Cothiemuir Hill Woodland Burial Ground offers a peaceful final resting place surrounded by nature.
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.
Set in a picturesque location in Alford, the burial ground provides a tranquil and beautiful backdrop, creating a serene environment for reflection and remembrance.
Rather than traditional headstones, Cothiemuir woodland burial ground offers alternative memorial options such as planting a tree or engraving a stone, allowing for a lasting tribute.
A non-religious service is a ceremony that celebrates life, milestones, or events without incorporating religious traditions. These services often are led by a secular celebrant, humanist officiant, or a chosen friend/family member.
The ceremony may include speeches, readings, memories and non-religious music, with a focus on personalisation and inclusivity. Symbolic gestures like lighting candles, raising a toast of their favourite drink or planting a tree may be incorporated. Alternatively, a moment of reflection allows attendees to contemplate or remember in their own way. The overall tone is one of celebration, emphasising humanist principles, personal values, and positive memories.
Read more about types of funerals
For more information on non-religious funerals and natural burial grounds, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable team. We are here to support you and help you create a farewell that is as unique and special as the life being celebrated.
At the Cothiemuir Hill Woodland Burial Ground, you can purchase a burial plot or an ashes plot, either ahead of time or for someone who has died.
The burial ground is divided into 5 areas, each with slightly different features. All offer somewhere special to spend time listening to the birdsong in the surrounding woodland, admiring nature, and taking in the view towards Bennachie. A place of escape, away from the it all and in a peaceful, serene and tranquil setting.
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.
Whether you're arranging a funeral now or planning for the future, we have put together information packs for you to 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.
The burial ground meadow will remain as a natural environment, the way you see it now. Unlike a conventional cemetery, there will not be rows of memorial stones, benches, vases of flowers or mementos, which would alter the special natural quality of the meadow.