Celebrating Life, Embracing Nature

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.

Ox eye daisies growing at the Dorset Downs natural burial ground in June 2023

Why Choose a Non-Religious Funeral?

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.

Celebration of life at Dorst Downs natural burial ground with a colourfully painted cardboard coffin and an attendee playing the guitar in the backgroundWildflowers at Dorset Downs Natural Burial Ground

Natural Burial Grounds: A Serene Alternative

For those seeking an alternative to traditional churchyards, natural burial grounds present a serene and eco-friendly option. Dorset is home to several such grounds, offering a peaceful final resting place surrounded by nature.

Key Features of Natural Burial Grounds in Dorset:

Wildflowers at Dorset Downs Natural Burial Ground

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.

Breathtaking Scenery

Set in picturesque locations across Dorset, these burial grounds provide a tranquil and beautiful backdrop, creating a serene environment for reflection and remembrance.

Newly planted oak tree memorial at Dorset Downs natural burial ground

Memorial Options

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

Celebration of life at Dorst Downs natural burial ground with a colourfully painted cardboard coffin on the wooden bier, with the rolling hills of Dorset downland behind.

How to have a non-religious service

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

Get in touch

For more information on non-religious funerals and natural burial grounds in Dorset, 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.

How much is a Natural Burial at Dorset Downs?

The burial ground is divided into 3 areas, each with slightly different features. The Down area is the first area you encounter and has views of the whole burial ground. In the Spinney area, you have views of serene trees in a peaceful and tranquil setting. In the lovely Combe area, you have amazing views of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Where is Dorset Downs natural burial ground?

The burial ground is located a few miles west of Dorchester, off the A35 towards Compton Valence. If you are visiting the burial ground, please use the Google Maps location for Dorset Downs, rather than the postcode (which will not take you to the entrance).

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?


This beautiful land, a designated part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is farmed by the Russell family, who have lived here for several generations.


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.


There is space and time to create your own bespoke ceremony within the ethos of the natural burial ground.

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