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

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 Dorset Downs: 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 Dorset Downs natural burial ground?

We would love you to come and explore the serene beauty of Dorset Downs Natural 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 01305 564075.

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?

If you'd like to find out more about the Dorset Downs natural burial meadow, 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.


Quintessential downland The Dorset Downs natural burial meadow sits in the heart of the West Dorset countryside, above the village of Compton Valence, just five miles from the county town of Dorchester.


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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