Planting a tree in memory of someone is a beautiful and meaningful way to honour their life, while also contributing to the environment.

It is a personal way to remember and signify that the person’s memory lives on, not only through their friends and family but through the roots of a growing tree.

At Cothiemuir Woodland Burial Ground, we give families the option to plant a tree in memory of someone whose body or ashes have been buried there. It is a serene, peaceful and beautiful meadow and that is how it will stay.

Unlike traditional cemeteries, which allow chemicals and materials that harm the earth, at Cothiemuir Woodland Burial Ground, we let the body return to nature. Helping to replenish the soil and support the ecosystem we are all part of.

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Cothiemuir Hill woodland burial ground looking toward Bennachie in August 2023Lowering coffin

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. We provide two options for burials at Cothiemuir Woodland Burials: 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.

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.

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

Quick Questions

Do we need to use a funeral director?

There is no legal requirement in the UK to use a funeral director. The professionals 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.

Can I buy a plot for ashes?

Yes, you can buy a plot to inter ashes, or you can choose to inter ashes with someone who is being buried. More information on prices and application forms is available on the forms and prices page.

What’s to stop people from building on the land?

Use of the land is restricted to natural burials by covenants contained in its 99-year lease. Beyond that, the burial ground is an integral part of the Whitworth Farm and will continue to provide land for grazing and hay-making when the lease expires.

Where is Cothiemuir Hill woodland burial ground?

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.

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.

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If you'd like to find out more about the Cothiemuir natural 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.


Unlike a conventional cemetery, there will be no rows of memorial stones, vases of flowers or mementos. Instead, you can dedicate a tree or an oak memorial plaque in memory of someone.

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