Compare Eco Funerals and Woodland Burial Services

As more people become aware of their environmental impact, more and more funeral providers are trying to understand how to adapt their ways of working in order to allow clients to understand more about the choices they make and how these may impact the environment in terms of sustainability. Our funeral homes can help you explore the options you have. 

We can explain the options available.

There is no standard industry definition of a “green” or “eco” funeral. All funerals will have an environmental impact to some extent, based on all the choices which have been made for the service and commital.

Depending upon your particular preference or environmental concern, there may nevertheless be different choices you can make to personalise your funeral.

For example, you may wish to have a woodland burial, or choose a coffin which has been accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council, or one which is 100% biodegradable.

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Your questions answered

What is a woodland burial?

A woodland burial, which may be referred to as a “green” burial or natural burial, is an alternative to a traditional funeral or cremation. They usually occur in rural locations such as wooded areas, forests or meadows – not traditional cemeteries – and offer a picturesque final resting place for your loved one.
Each woodland burial site will, in different ways, consider the environmental impacts of laying someone to rest.
We would encourage you to look at the individual woodland burial ground you may be interested in to find out more about the way each burial ground is managed and maintained from an environmental or “green” perspective.

Why do people choose a woodland burial?

This style of funeral usually appeals to people who liked to be close to nature. Or those who cared about the natural environment and wanted.
Additionally, the setting of a woodland burial may appeal to friends and family. The idea of laying a loved one to rest amongst nature, surrounded by trees, flowers and wildlife is becoming increasingly popular.
If this is an option you are considering, your local funeral director will help you find a natural burial ground to suit you.

What is considered a "green" burial or "eco" funeral?

There is no standard industry definition of a “green” or “eco” funeral. All funerals will have an environmental impact to some extent, based on all the choices which have been made for the service.
Depending upon your particular preference or environmental concern, there may be different choices you can make to personalise your funeral.
Below are certain considerations you may wish to take into account

  • Biodegradable coffins – these may allow a more natural decomposition process
  • No headstone or permanent memorial – this is to keep the burial site as natural as possible
  • Burial or cremation – individual woodlands burial sites will have different environmental credentials. Cremation involves a considerable use of energy
  • Embalming – you may choose not to use embalming, since embalming uses chemicals which have an environmental impact
  • Minimal vehicles for funeral attendees cars have a negative impact on the environment, so try and carpool where possible to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Carbon offsetting – based on your individual choice for your funeral, you may be able to calculate the carbon footprint and offset the emissions by supporting projects which benefit the environment

What are "eco" coffins?

There is no standard industry definition of a “green” or “eco” coffin. All coffins will have an environmental impact to some extent, based on all the choices which have been made for the service.
Depending upon your particular preference or environmental concern, there may be different choices you can make to personalise your coffin choice.

  • Cardboard/recycled paper
  • Willow
  • Bamboo
  • Wool
  • Wicker
  • Banana leaf

Can you use a headstone at a "green" burial?

Permanent markers, such as headstones, are forbidden at most “green” burial sites because they do not blend with the natural environment. 
Alternatives include:

  • A memorial post – a single wooden post with an inscription of your choice
  • Living memorials – a plant or tree dedicated to someone’s life and legacy
  • Obelisk – a beautiful wooden monument
  • Memorial plaque – a wooden plaque with an inscription of your choice

Alternatively, some natural burial grounds have a map to help the bereaved find the location of their loved one, while others like to consider the entire site as a memorial to their loved one.

What happens at a woodland burial?

Unlike a traditional funeral, woodland burials may be considered to be more flexible. They don’t follow a conventional agenda, nor do they require hymns or religious readings – unless you wish. With a natural burial, there may be fewer restrictions, giving you more freedom to carry out the ceremony according to your friend or family member’s wishes.

Here are some ideas for the ceremony:

  • A memory walk – you can leisurely wander through the woodland site, ending at the burial plot of your loved one
  • A simple service at the burial plot – friends and family can recite poems, read meaningful book extracts or recall happy memories of the deceased
  • A traditional indoor service – some burial sites have a building or centre where a more traditional-style service can be held
  • Outdoor wake – some sites offer special areas such as yurts, large tents or gazebos for a wake

One of the main appeals of a woodland funeral is its flexibility. As long as you follow the site rules, generally focused on protecting the site, you can create a memorable ceremony that’s personal to you.

What is the average cost of a "green" burial?

Much like a traditional burial, “green” burial costs vary depending on location and the site itself. On average, a “green” burial plot can start at a few hundred pounds and go up to several thousand pounds – this is usually a one-off purchase and requires minimal upkeep.
Additional costs may include:

  • A coffin – a ‘Simple Cardboard Coffin’ can cost as little as £400
  • Gravedigging or interment fee – this can differ between burial grounds but is usually between £300-500
  • A memorial tree – this can be used to mark your loved one’s final resting place, prices vary depending on the type of tree but can cost upwards of £300
  • A funeral celebrant – this is the main host who officiates at the service: a civil celebrant, member of the clergy, family member, or friend
  • Venue hire (if applicable)

For detailed costs and more information about “green” funerals and woodland burials in your area, please contact your local funeral directors where our dedicated team will be happy to discuss all your funeral service requirements.

Compare woodland burial services in your area

London

29 funeral directors

Birmingham

4 funeral directors

Manchester

13 funeral directors

Hampshire

15 funeral directors

Yorkshire

33 funeral directors

Kent

19 funeral directors

Surrey

10 funeral directors

Berkshire

11 funeral directors

Why use Funeral Partners?

Funeral Partners is the third largest funeral services provider in the country; with over 200 funeral homes, more than 650 employees and overseeing over 13,000 funerals, annually.
With our deep knowledge of the industry, we can help you navigate this difficult and potentially unknown time with care and respect.

For more information, please contact your local funeral directors where our dedicated team will be happy to discuss eco funeral and woodland burial service.

Search for green burial services in your area

Peter Williams

Knowle

Green burial site

Thomas Bragg & Sons Funeral Directors clearly guided me through the options for a humanist service and told me about a newly opened green burial site.

Mrs L Cowles

York

Kept informed

Great service from the A N Abraham Funeral Directors team. They kept me informed and were very respectful but also lighthearted which helped.

Peter Lindsay

Leeds

Magnificent service

G H Dovener provided magnificent service and care when, together with relatives who lived well away, I arranged the funeral of an old friend at a church which was not familiar to any of us.

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