Operations and Guidance
Until further notice or specific guidance is issued, the St Albans Woodland Burial Ground will continue to be open and operate within the specific guidelines provided by the Government, NHS and other appropriate agencies. We will keep this situation under constant review.
The current guidance from the Government is that funerals should continue but take into account all of the guidelines issued for minimising the risk of transmission of Coronavirus.
Arrangements for funerals, burials and interments at the St Albans Woodland Burial Ground will need to be made safely, in line with current guidelines. This means it is highly likely that all arrangements will be made by telephone, Skype calls or similar means wherever possible. In exceptional circumstances, where face to face meetings have to take place, it is critical to adhere to the guidelines for social distancing, and those who are self-isolating and/or with symptoms should not attend meetings nor should meetings take place at a venue where someone has symptoms or is self-isolating.
Funerals, burials and interments will have to be different to what may be normally expected. The numbers of those attending the funeral inevitably may be reduced to immediate family and few others. Those who are at increased risk including the over 70’s and those with an underlying health condition should be strongly discouraged from attending. You may wish to consider Live Streaming the Funeral as an option.
We understand it may simply not be possible for family relatives or friends of the deceased to be able to attend a funeral service as usual. We can still take a funeral at the graveside even if numbers are limited. In a Church or the Crematorium and other closed spaces hymns and singing are not advised as this may encourage droplet spread. In the open air at the burial ground appropriate social distancing should be maintained at all times. For those unable to attend, a memorial service could be held at some point in the future after this immediate crisis. Current guidelines indicate there should not be a “wake” or gathering after the funeral.
Pastoral support for the bereaved remains in place, albeit within the constraints of current guidelines.
If the current crisis causes difficulties in the payment of fees please let us know so alternative arrangements can be evaluated.
You can download a hard copy of these guidance notes in PDF format for offline viewing or printing at a later date. Just follow this link:- Coronavirus Operations and Guidance Notes V2 March 2020
Absolutely. The Government recognises the importance of burying loved ones and they have relaxed the guidelines to make the whole process easier. They could be tightened up again at short notice so please do check back regularly for the latest information. Please also see the other questions and answers below for related details.
This process is the same as usual. Simply contact a local Funeral Director by phone or email, we have a list here:- Funeral Directors supporting Woodland Burials. You will obviously have to respect restrictions that may be in place surrounding social distancing. You will also need to complete one of our Funeral Booking Forms which is self-explanatory. There are currently no restrictions on visiting the Woodland to choose a spot if you haven't reserved one already. Please ensure that the rules for social distancing are respected at all times.
Absolutely. The woodland burial ground remains focused on protecting the environment. The coffin and lining should continue to be made from biodegradeable material. However, during these difficult times, an additional layer of protection may be insisted on by your Funeral Director in the form of a body bag to reduce the possibility of viral transmission. Biodegradeable body bags are available and totally acceptable.
Your funeral director may insist that the deceased's body be placed inside a body bag to limit the transmission of the Covid virus. Normally we would expect these body bags to be made from a biodegradeable material, however, we do appreciate that there are shortages due to the extensive pressure placed on resources by the virus and we recognise that some materials are in short supply. If biodegradeable bags are not available, then we will make an exception in this instance.
This is a difficult time and our customary procedures are a little different. Alongside the Funeral Director, his staff and our own attendants, only the following people are allowed to attend:-
- members of the person's household
- close family members.
- or if the above are unable to attend, close friends.
- A celebrant of your choice may attend at the request of the bereaved.
No, the woodland doesn't have any hand sanitisers or facilities for hand washing. However, there are toilets and hand basins at the equestrian centre should you need to use them.
We were unable to during the initial phase of the Lockdown, but we can now. The only constraint is the number attendees which is a maximum of 10 simply because the Glades set aside for interments are smaller. Social distancing rules must be followed at all times.
It's not unusual for people to hold on to ashes, sometimes for years. If you wish to arrange an Interment of Ashes, please contact us.
A number of restrictions apply and can change at short notice. These are in place to protect you, your family and friends and to reduce the likelihood of additional transmission of the virus in the wider communuty. Please ensure that you respect the current guidelines summarised below.
- Numbers are restricted to a maximum of 20 (10 for interments) - that includes partners and children - to ensure social distancing rules can be followed
- A minimum distance of 2 metres must be maintained between all individuals.
- Mourners who are self-isolating for 14 days due to someone in their household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) but are not symptomatic themselves are allowed to attend the funeral in person should they wish to do so. However, please ensure that processes are put in place to minimise the risk of transmission to others.
- Mourners who are clinically vulnerable or in a shielded group are also able to attend. They will be particulalry susceptible to the virus so please ensure you put in place processes to minimise the risk of transmission to them.
- any mourner who is showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the funeral as they pose a risk to others; remote participation should be considered.
Numbers are restricted to a maximum of 20 (10 for interments) - that includes partners and children - to ensure social distancing rules can be adhered to.
Mourners who are self-isolating for 14 days due to someone in their household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) but are not symptomatic themselves are allowed to attend the funeral in person should they wish to do so. However, please ensure that your party are aware and that processes are in place to minimise the risk of transmission to others.
Mourners who are clinically vulnerable or in a shielded group are also able to attend. They will be particulalry susceptible to the virus so please ensure your party put in place processes to minimise the risk of transmission to them.
Obviously not. Any mourner who is showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the funeral as they pose a risk to others; remote participation should be considered.
Yes. For those unable to attend due to distance, illness, or current restrictions, this is without doubt the best solution. Just ask us for details and we will put you in touch with a specialist who has all the necessary knowledge and equipment to broadcast globally on a private channel. There is a cost involved which you will need to sort out with them direct, but it is incredible and well worth it.
Things are changing regularly and these links may suddenly stop working. But for now the best link is this one:- Government Funeral Guidelines. If you discover it isn't working, please let us know by writing direct to:- firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this link. Thank you.