Natural burial grounds are the alternative to a traditional cemetery or church yard.

They provide a final resting place in a countryside setting and insist on bio-degradable materials to be used in coffins and shrouds (also that bodies are not embalmed) so that pollution of the land is reduced. Not all NBG’s are the same and not all are good (much like funeral directors). The Natural Death Centre is a good place for background research.

Your choices

In Bedford and surrounding villages, we were lucky enough to have two good and different NBG’s, however, the Olney Green burial ground is now full and therefore closed to new burials.

St Albans Woodland Burial Ground in Keysoe is one of only two ‘consecrated’ natural burial grounds in the country. Simply put, this means that the burial grounds are protected by the jurisdiction of the Church of England to protect them from being built on in the future.

It is also owned by a charitable trust – so these are two very strong reasons for choosing this burial ground, although you might just like it because it looks lovely. Full of established trees, you can have a wooden stake or cross to mark the grave if you choose to. So special is this site, I have brought a gentleman all the way from the Brighton area to be buried here.

Following the funeral, it may be possible to use the adjacent College Equestrian Centre for refreshments. Whilst burial can be preceded by a traditional funeral service elsewhere, prior to the journey to the burial ground, many families choose to have a funeral service wholly by the graveside.


It is best to avoid floral arrangements on an oasis base, (the green foam stuff florists use) but if you do want these you need to take them home with you after the funeral. However good florists can make tributes suitable for a green burial and you can also have green foliage woven into the coffin.