Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Visiting a Woodland Burial Cemetery.
As part of my Funeral Celebrant training I arranged to visit my local Woodland Burial Cemetery. I had an idea of what to expect but found the whole visit to be interesting and informative.
My local Woodland Cemetery is Westall Park. (www.westallpark.co.uk) It is situated in beautiful countryside between Worcester and Stratford-Upon-Avon.
On arrival I was met by Daniel, who was extremely welcoming and happily talked me through how the Cemetery is run. We then drove through the site to the car park. The first thing that struck me on leaving the car was how calm and quiet it was. I just felt totally relaxed and enveloped by the serenity.
It was instantly obvious that the site commands stunning views and is carefully maintained. Each plot is carefully recorded using a GPS mapping system, so even in the future when the ground returns to it's normal state it will still be possible to pin point each plot.
Looking across the land you are greeted by carefully planted, wooded parkland, which is carpeted with wildflowers throughout the summer. Continuing traditional land management at the end of the summer the flowers are mown and the cuttings removed, enabling the flowers to rest and regrow for the following year.
Having had some experience of allowing land to return to its natural state I asked Daniel if they have found plants returning that have lain fallow for many, many years. As I suspected, this is definitely the case and even now, each year different orchids awake from their slumber and appear in all their glory.
If it is your wish to be buried, or have your ashes buried, in a Woodland Cemetery then you are advised to reserve your plot in advance. This ensures you have the peace of mind in knowing that your final resting place has been chosen, and reduces the burden of decision on those organising your funeral.
Whilst the site does not follow any particular faith, if you wish then your own minister will perform a formal blessing or similar.
Daniel explained that often people chose to do something different, this can range from tea and cakes served from a camper van to a gospel choir filling the space with joyous sound. This is where my role as Celebrant would come into its own as I can guide and support those organising the Ceremony, ensuring a unique celebration for a unique person.