Frequently Asked Questions

Natural Burials may be enjoying a revival today, but as a centuries-old practice people often have many questions to ask. Some of the questions we are most frequently asked, including those about general funeral and burial practices and procedures are listed below:

  • How do we arrange a funeral at Old Park Meadow?

    Please telephone or visit us and speak to our friendly and experienced staff who will be able to discuss your options and help cater to your specific funeral needs. We also work closely with many Funeral Directors, Clergy and other Secular organisations, who can also advise you on how to ensure the needs and wishes of you or your loved ones are fully satisfied.

    Show Answer
  • Can we choose the exact spot for the burial?

    At Old Park Meadow we have burial plots in varying but equally picturesque locations across our natural burial ground. Whether you would prefer a spot in one of our young woodlands, in one of our flower meadows or with a view of our scenic pond, our team can help choose the right final resting place.

    Show Answer
  • Why are graves dug so deep?

    Each grave must be buried with sufficient earth on top to ensure that the grave is not disturbed in any way. Every grave at Old Park Meadow is a single depth plot, as shallower burials are better for the environment, as opposed to deeper graves allowing more than one burial in one grave.

    Show Answer
  • Are graves filled in straight after a funeral or are they left until the next day?

    The ‘ICCM Charter for the Bereaved choosing Natural Burial – Guiding Principles’ state that immediately after the mourners have departed the graveside, the grave shall be entirely backfilled and made tidy. This work is completed on the day of the burial and coffins are not left uncovered overnight. In advance of the burial, graves are prepared at least one full day before the funeral and are covered overnight.

    Show Answer
  • Can anyone witness the grave being filled?

    Yes, but please advise us of this before the funeral takes place to ensure that we are prepared.

    Show Answer
  • If I own a grave, can anyone else be buried in it if I don’t want them to?

    Graves cannot be opened without the permission in writing of the registered owner of the grave. The only exception to this is where the burial is to be that of the registered owner, in which case no written authority is required.

    Show Answer
  • What happens when the grave lease expires?

    When you buy a grave, you purchase the exclusive Rights of Burial in that grave for a set period, 75 years. Should you not renew your lease options, then the exclusive rights of burial will eventually run out. Please ensure that you notify us of any changes of address, name etc.

    Show Answer
  • What happens if/when all of the grave owners have died?

    Ownership of the exclusive Rights of Burial in a grave can be transferred from a deceased owner via that owner’s estate. The means of transfer can be very complex and while there is a set procedure to follow, each case must be looked at individually. If you need to transfer ownership when all owners are deceased, you will need to contact us.

    Show Answer
  • I want to bury cremated remains in a grave. Why do I have to decide whether there will be any more burials before this can take place?

    It is against the law to disturb human remains without a licence (including cremated remains in a casket or urn) and therefore no further burials will be possible in the grave until a licence has been obtained. Cremated remains can be buried in the grave at full depth, in which case they will not be disturbed by further full body burials, but having to excavate a grave to this depth will incur additional charges.

    Show Answer
  • Can I pre-purchase a burial plot?

    Yes you can. Not only that, pre-purchasing reserves your burial plot at today’s price, once full payment has been received.

    Show Answer
  • What payment options do I have?

    You can pay at the time of the booking by cheque, credit or debit card, or by a bank transfer.  Full payment must be received and cleared before any interment can take place.

    Show Answer
  • What happens if my burial plans change after I have reserved a plot?

    Burial rights can be assigned on the production of the original receipt and written instructions from the registered burial plot owner, plus payment of an administration fee.

    Show Answer
  • Can cut flowers be left on a grave?

    Cut flowers can be laid on graves at the time of the burial and will be collected every Wednesday morning.  Any floral tributes containing oasis and plastic trays will be removed immediately as they pose a threat to wildlife and are not in keeping with our ethos of a natural burial ground. Large arrangements can be taken back to the post-funeral gathering or donated to a local hospital; please do not leave them in the burial ground. Artificial flowers are not permitted. Equally, cuddly toys, wood or similar, toys, photographs, candles or any sort of solar light are not permitted to stay on the natural burial site.

    Show Answer
  • Why can’t I have exactly what I want on the grave?

    When a new grave is purchased, it is not the ownership of the land itself that is purchased, but the exclusive right to have a burial take place in that grave. These rights are sold, or ‘granted’, together with the rights to have a slate memorial in one of the memorial frames in accordance with the rules and regulations of Old Park Meadow Natural Burial Ground.

    Show Answer
  • How can I buy a memorial?

    Please click here to find out more about the memorials available at Old Park Meadow, including engraved memorial slates, sponsorship of trees and wildlife boxes. Alternatively please contact one of our members of staff, and they will be more than happy to help you with this.

    Show Answer
  • If the grave is not marked how will people find it?

    We are very careful with recording graves and use both traditional mapping and an electronic tag system to ensure that there is a permanent record of the person who is buried with us, both on paper and digitally. Of course, during opening hours, one of our staff will always be able to help you locate a grave.

    Show Answer
  • Do you say what kind of coffin is allowed?

    It is very much your choice about the coffin you use. You certainly don’t need to buy a special coffin to be buried at Old Park Meadow. Most traditional solid wooden coffins (not chipboard) in a funeral directors’ standard range can be buried at Old Park Meadow, as well as ones made of willow, seagrass, cardboard, bamboo or other eco-friendly material. We are not able to bury metal caskets or zinc-lined coffins and do not permit non-degradable linings or plastic.  Therefore all handles, linings and pillows should be made from and stuffed with natural fibres. Coffins exceeding 2 metres in length or 65cm in width will incur a £100 surcharge to cover additional grave preparation costs.  As members of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds we have to abide by their rules.

    Show Answer
  • Can people be buried together?

    Each of our burial plots is created to accommodate one burial, but you can purchase two plots side by side. If this is not possible we will strive to find you resting places as close together as remaining plots allow.

    Show Answer
  • Is the ground in Old Park Meadow Consecrated?

    Individual graves can be blessed as you wish, but there are no marked areas that are consecrated for one specific religion.

    Show Answer
  • Does there have to be a Religious Service? Do you allow Humanist Funerals?

    At Old Park Meadow the service is entirely up to you. You can arrange a Religious Funeral Ceremony, a Civil Funeral, with or without religious content and led by a Civil Funeral Celebrant, or a Humanist Funeral with no religious content led by a Humanist Officiant. You might even decide to lead a religious or non-religious funeral ceremony yourself. Whatever service you choose, Old Park Meadow will help you make that happen.

    Show Answer
  • How do I know that you will take care of the woodland and meadows?

    At Old Park Meadow we take the long term care of your loved one’s final resting place very seriously. For this reason, a proportion of every payment made for a natural burial or funeral service is held separately for the long-term preservation and maintenance of the woodland and meadows.

    Show Answer
  • Can we bury ashes as well as a full burial?

    Yes, you can. Ashes can be buried in a chosen area in a biodegradable urn, basket or box.

    Show Answer
  • Where may I park my car?

    You can park your vehicle in our on-site car park. No vehicles, including bicycles, are allowed beyond the car park and onto the burial site.  All vehicles, including contents, are left at the owner’s risk.

    Show Answer
  • Can I bring my dog?

    You are more than welcome to bring dogs to Old Park Meadow, but please keep them on a short lead at all times. We also ask that the owner assumes responsibility for cleaning up after their dog and removing any mess from Old Park Meadow.

    Show Answer