Some people will be choosing a burial space following the death of a loved one, others will wish to make a reservation as a part of making their own preparations in advance (see here: Planning Your Own Funeral). Whatever your personal situation, our administrator Samantha Ware will be pleased to meet with you on site and show you the possibilities available. The following information will offer you some preliminary guidance.
Please bear in mind that we are available 24 hours a day, we know what you are going through and if you need someone to 'lean' on, pick up that phone and give us a call.
Arranging A Funeral
When a person passes away, it falls to family, maybe friends or even close colleagues, to make all the arrangements. Few will have the skill set, knowledge or time to deal with everything. To compound the issue, many will be experiencing extreme grief and sadness at this time. For this very reason we recommend that your first step it to employ the services of a Funeral Director.
You will find a list of those we have worked closely with on our website here:- Funeral Directors. All have proved themselves fully competent at arranging a Woodland Burial.
Booking the Woodland Burial
You will certainly need to complete one of our Funeral Booking Forms at some point, so take the opportunity to download one and take it along with you to the Funeral Directors; they are in the best position to answer a number of the questions.
Embalming can cause pollution by introducing formaldehyde to the soil. We therefore ask that bodies are not embalmed if possible. We understand that this may become necessary for hygienic reasons, we ask that your funeral director informs the Trust beforehand.
Choice of coffins
We are pleased to accept all coffins, caskets and urns which are biodegradable. Your Funeral Director will normally have a wide selection to choose from (such as the examples in our gallery section which demonstrate the expertise and quality of workmanship you can expect).
Alternatively, we have prepared a shortlist of manufacturers (together with their website addresses) that you may like to consider contacting - please refer to our Funeral Related links page for details. Obviously these are independent, third party companys that share our philosophy but over which we have no influence or control. In the interests of remaining neutral, we cannot recommend one over the other.
Interment of cremated remains
Ashes can be buried in the woodland, either loose or in a biodegradable container. As with the coffins above your Funeral Director will be happy to help you with this - or refer to the links on our site again.
Ceremonies at the graveside
St Albans Woodland Burial Trust is open to all people without discrimination. We welcome people of all faiths, and denominations and those with no religious faith at all. We ask that the form of any graveside ceremony must be dignified but not necessarily Christian.
When graveside ceremonies are arranged, the form of service and the person conducting it, must be agreed by the Administrator who acts on behalf of the Trustees. St Albans Woodland Burial Trust will be pleased to offer advice concerning the ceremony and our own clergy are pleased to conduct services for you. Alternatively we can arrange for another minister or civil celebrant of your choice. After the service of committal, family and friends can spend as much time as they like at the graveside. The cost of your minister or celebrant must be agreed with them and is not the responsibility of the Trust.
Fresh cut flowers may be placed in or on the graves, please remove cellophane, ribbons and non bio-degradable wrapping. Artificial flowers are not permitted and no vases or containers should be left*. Planting or cultivation in the burial ground is not permitted, since we are creating a natural woodland. The Trustees reserve the right to remove flowers placed on graves as part of routine care and maintenance.
*Our fully biodegradable Bamboo bio pots can be used as vases in the woodland. They can be purchased from our office or we will install/post one to you. Further details can be found here:- Woodland Burial Vases
Protection of the environment and wildlife conservation is important to the Trust. We are creating a place for nature, a beautiful natural woodland setting. It is therefore important that no memorials are used which are made from stone or non-biodegradable materials. All memorials must be specified and supplied by the Trust directly, so that we can ensure that the natural beauty of the woodland is preserved.
The Trust has approved the fixing of an oak cross or alternatively an oak memorial, which may be suitably inscribed. These oak memorials have been selected by the Trustees since they will age naturally and be sympathetic to the woodland. Our administrator will be pleased to supply you with details.
Plaques do not need to be placed on the grave at the time of burial but can be laid at a subsequent time. No charge will be made for the erection of a memorial. Please note that the Trust does not take responsibility for the memorials once fitted.
Dedication of a tree
We are pleased to arrange for the dedication of a tree in memory of a loved one. This can be done at the time of a burial or at a later occasion. Should you wish to have an inscribed wooden memorial plaque place by the tree, this can be arranged by the Trust.
Book of Remembrance
The Book of Remembrance is an important way in which you can leave a beautiful and long lasting memorial. Entries can be made in the Book of Remembrance which is kept in the chapel of St Mark’s Church, Bedford. The chapel is open during daylight hours and provides the facility for visitors to light prayer candles. Entries in the Book of Remembrance are arranged by the Trust, free of charge.
Health and Safety
The Trust is creating a natural woodland, it is therefore necessary to wear appropriate footwear and clothing when visiting the site or attending services. Please be especially careful to avoid trips and falls on grassy areas.
Arranging the Reception
Refreshments and catering facilities are available from a number of local establishments. We have prepared a shortlist which is by no means exhaustive but is based on proximity to the woodland burial ground and positive feedback we have received. Local Funeral Reception Venues.