Looking into the distance from Alne Wood Park
Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find a selection of the most commonly asked questions about Alne Wood Park and Natural Burial. Please contact us if there is anything you are unable to find here. 

Is there a surcharge for not residing in the local area?

No, unlike many municipal cemeteries there is no surcharge for not living in the local parish, prices are the same for everyone. 

How much notice is required for a burial?

We typically need a minimum of one week to arrange the gravedigger for full coffin/shroud burial. Ashes burials may be possible at shorter notice. In either case please Contact Us to check what the current availability is. The appropriate paperwork, either a burial or cremation certificate, will need to be supplied to use ahead of any burial. Visit our Pricing & Reservations page to access the appropriate forms to purchased a plot and/or book a burial.  

Do you allow the spreading of ashes?

We do not allow the spreading of ashes; this is known to significantly affect the alkalinity and sodium levels of surface soil which negatively affects local plant growth. Ashes can be buried in dedicated plots on the site in compostable urns. 

Can I buy a burial plot in advance?

Yes, all types of plots can be purchased in advance and chosen from the currently open areas, visit the Pricing & Reservations page for more information. Securing a plot in advance guarantees your choice of location, this is important if you require a plot adjacent to an existing burial. This also locks-in the current price and no one has to bear this cost at the time of death. Before reserving a plot we suggest discussing this choice with close relatives and also visiting Alne Wood Park to choose your plot location.

How do I know the future of the burial ground is secure?

The burial ground and much of the surrounding land are owned by the Heart of England Forest. The mission of the forest is to plant and protect over 30,000 acres of native broadleaf woodland. This is an ongoing program with over 7,000 acres of land already in possession, being planted and managed by a dedicated forestry team. Profit from Alne Wood Park helps to support the charity but it is also backed by an significant endowment from the Forest’s founder. This ensures the land will remain in possession of the Heart of England Forest and be protected accordingly, both now and for centuries to come. 

Can I be buried next to a loved one?

If there is space it is possible to purchase plots that are adjacent to an existing grave, however these cannot be reserved without payment. Multiple plots can also be purchased ahead of time and their location fixed. We do not allow interment of more than one full coffin/shroud burial in a single grave plot. Interment of ashes within an existing burial plot in addition to a full burial may be allowed by prior arrangement but will require the appropriate paperwork to allow burial records to be maintained. Family ashes plots can be purchased to allow for the burial of up to four sets of individual ashes. 

Can I choose the location of my plot?

Not all the burial ground is open for burial as this helps with grassland management and tree planting. We offer a selection of areas depending on the type of burial desired; full coffin/shroud burial or ashes. Within each area there is choice of placement. We can provide maps to help make a location choice remotely but we recommend visiting Alne Wood Park to see exactly where the open options are, to allow selection of the most appropriate one for your needs.

What size is a burial plot?

Full coffin/shroud burial plots are 3m (10’) x 1.5m (5’), graves are centred within the plots. A single ashes plot is a 75cm (30”) x 75cm (30”) square and family ashes plots comprise four of these in a square totalling 1.5m (5') x 1.5m (5'). 

How do you maintain accurate records?

We use an industry leading software solution for recording our burial records and providing information for those seeking burial register information. This is linked to a digital map which allows us to accurately record plot locations. The record keeping data is regularly backed up by the software company and independently by Alne Wood Park Ltd.

How can someone visiting find a plot location?

Each plot is recorded on our digital map and we are happy to meet visitors, by appointment and guide them to a grave site. We can also provide What 3 Words locations for each plot site – the What 3 Words app can be downloaded to a smartphone and used to guide you to the general location of the burial plot. Memorial plaques can also be purchased to mark a grave site - visit the Pricing & Reservations page for more information.

Can a body be buried with clothing and possessions?

Biodegradable natural materials should be used for clothing, such as cotton, wool and linen. Similarly, only items solely made of natural biodegradable materials such as paper, card and wood are permitted to be buried with the deceased. The only exception to this is a wedding ring. 

Do you allow tree planting on graves?

At Alne Wood Park we do not allow individual tree planting on a grave site. We believe this creates an unnaturally dense forest and is detrimental to tree health. Consequently, for the foreseeable future the site is being managed as a wildflower meadow to provide a peaceful place to visit that also encourages biodiversity. In future decades when an area reaches capacity then it will be planted as woodland. If you are interested in a memorial tree it is possible to purchase these in other areas of the site and the wider Heart of England Forest.

Are memorials allowed on graves?

The only type of memorial permitted is a standard plaque that can be ordered from Alne Wood Park. We use local artisans to produce these and install them ourselves. This provides a consistent look and ensures natural materials are used throughout the burial ground.

Naturally tied (twine or rafia) or loose cut flowers can be left on graves but will be removed and composted once wilted. No plastic packaging or florists foam (oasis) should be left on the grave, with any found removed immediately. No other objects are permitted on grave sites and anything other than flowers will also be removed immediately to minimise risk to wildlife and staff and to ensure a natural environment is maintained for everyone. 

Can I plant flowers on a grave?

No planting is allowed on grave sites other than the carefully blended grass and wildflower seed mix which can be obtained from Alne Wood Park. This is to ensure only suitable locally native plants are introduced into the site. This helps us protect the sensitive biodiversity of the site and the surrounding woodland, in turn supporting local native wildlife to flourish.  Any live plants introduced from outside of the site will be removed from gravesites. 

Can I have a religious funeral?

Alne Wood Park is not consecrated (blessed) ground but it is possible to have a service or celebration at the graveside, this could conform to a particular religion or be secular in nature. 

Can friends and family visit the site?

Yes, we welcome friends and family coming to visit the site. There is a gate that uses a coded entry method, this code will be shared with immediate contacts in families who have relatives within the burial ground or have pre-purchased plots on the site. This can be shared with friends and other relatives who wish to visit. For security reasons this will be changed periodically so its important to stay up to date with contact information on the mailing list for family contacts.

How do I provide feedback or make a complaint?

Our aim is to become one of the leading Natural Burial Grounds in the UK, as such we welcome suggestions and endeavour to solve any issues that may arise as quickly as possible. As a first step please direct any ideas or concerns to the site manager via our contact page. 

Alternatively visit out Feedback & Complaints page to see our full complaints policy and procedure. 


Why do people choose natural burial?

There are many individual reasons that people choose natural burial, research has summarised the most common ones are below (Source: Natural Burial; 2015; Clayden, Green, Hockey & Powell; Routledge).

  • Sustainability – Environmentally friendly practices reduce the effect on the environment of the burial, funeral and future site maintenance. 
  • Surroundings – A peaceful rural setting with views of the countryside for visitors to enjoy and remember their loved ones. 
  • Locality – A direct connection to a site through residence, family, past visits or affiliation through work or volunteering. 
  • Personalised Services – The relative freedom of time and practice offered by natural burial grounds offers more potential for the deceased or their family to exercise self-expression that may help to deal with bereavement.
  • ‘Giving back’ to nature – Both in terms of the practical degradation of the body back into the earth and in the case of Alne Wood Park supporting the Heart of England Forest charity.
What are the future plans for Alne Wood Park?

In the short-term the plan is to develop some basic infrastructure for parking, toilets and a reception office at the entrance to the site. Looking further into the future, then a larger event space may be built to allow visitors to hold a funeral ceremony or wake. 

The burial ground itself will be managed as a wild-flower meadow with best-practice informed by the Biodiversity team from the Heart of England Forest. Within this, different areas of the site will be open for full coffin/shroud burial and ashes interment. As these reach capacity, over the following decades then the land will be planted with trees and become a managed woodland that can be enjoyed by visitors for centuries into the future. 

Can I drive up to the burial site?

Car access to the burial area at Alne Wood Park is not permitted, other than on the day of a funeral, for those who need help getting up the hill, or by prior arrangement with the site manager. Please see our page on Opening Hours & Site Accessibility for more information or Contact Us if you have questions or want to arrange access outside of a funeral.