The journey starts...

Recognising the lack of burial spaces in Bedford, the distress this was causing to his parishioners and a belief in burial communing with nature, Reverend Charles Royden proposed a woodland burial site in Colmworth near Bedford.

New site sought

The decision was taken on this day to withdraw the application for a Woodland Burial Ground at Honeydon Road, Colmworth. Sadly there were too many hurdles with the land subsequently being sold to a local resident who then developed the land for housing.

Keysoe Woodland Burial Ground

Simon Bates of the College Equestrian Centre, gifted us two idyllic acres of woodland; surrounded by a further 60 acres of countryside with planted trees to accommodate growth for generations to come. The dream became a reality.

Planning permission granted

On Monday 21st August 2006 St Mark's Church received planning permission for a woodland burial ground at Keysoe in Bedfordshire.

3 Counties Radio Show

On a Sunday morning in December 2006, Rev Charles Royden and Janet Day made an announcement on 3 Counties Radio (whilst being interviewed on Melting Pot by the late Ian Pierce) that the woodland would be opening in 2007.

Trust Created

The St Albans Woodland Burial Trust was registered with the Charity Commission, number 1118216, on 5th March 2007 following a long search for suitable land that could meet both our current and future needs.

Official Opening and Consecration

Our woodland was officially opened and consecrated at 2pm on 7 June 2007 by The Bishop of Bedford, The Right Reverend Richard Inwood. Consecration was crucial to afford it protected status under English Law. It is now one of only two consecrated woodland burial grounds in England and the only consecrated burial ground in this region which is available to the general public.

Road Project completed

This year we experienced some really wet days and as a result we decided to take forward plans for a new roadway leading right into Skylark glade.

Two New Glades

The largest of the two new glades has been named ‘Robin’ and it is accessed off our first glade ‘Skylark.’ The smaller glade is named ‘Wren’ and located on the right of the path as you enter the woodland.

Curlew Glade Opened

Or fourth Glade has now been officially opened and together with new signage and noticeboard, the area is rapidly taking shape.

Trust seeks consecration of additional woodland

The Trustees agreed to seek the consecration of the land surrounding their existing woodland. The additional 10 acres will ensure that the founding principles are adhered to.

Goldcrest Glade

This year the development of the glades centred around the definition of a new glade named ‘Goldcrest’ and the further use of ‘Curlew’, opened last year.

Planning Permission Granted for Woodland

After a lengthy process the planning application for a change of use to a woodland burial ground was finally granted permission. This gives us the opportunity to consecrate a further 10 acres of land to extend our woodland to 12 acres.

Another Glade up and running

Visitors to the woodland this year will see our new glade, Goldcrest, which has just been seeded. This will be the last glade to be developed in the original 2 acres of woodland, in which we first started in 2007. The first Owl box has also been erected.

Consecration of 10 additional acres

In June we acquired a further 10 acres of land for the Trust and the consecration of the new land took place by The Bishop of Bedford, The Right Reverend Richard Atkinson. Consecration affords the greatest protection for land available in English law. Providing peace of mind that this will always remain a special place, sacred to the memory of those who are laid to rest.

6 new Glades created

Dove, Lark, Owl, Nightingale, Chaffinch and Bullfinch have all been prepared and look stunning already.

Woodland Lodge

Plans are being considered for an undercover area for our visitors in the form of a memorial lodge. This will be in keeping with the ethos and vision of the Woodland Burial Ground and maintain our environmentally friendly standards.