Managing Director and co founder of Woodland Burial Parks, Nick Taylor has been in the funeral business for over 30 years. As a funeral director, he developed his core principle of understanding people’s bereavement needs and tailor-making funerals accordingly, noting that people took months sometimes years to organise a wedding but often only had days to arrange a funeral. In 2000 he felt that he could improve upon services further and offered an eco friendly Green Funeral. He points out that Woodland Burials also have benefits for the environment.
“We are one of the few companies that uses established Woodlands for burials,” He explains. “As the wooded areas we lease are generally available in conurbation areas, they are often of a poor quality; we enhance these areas with strict management plans to recreate the quality of the woodland by improving growing conditions and encouraging wildlife back to the area. Many so-called woodland burials are actually carried out in meadow land with a sapling planted on top of the grave. This can create all sorts of problems as new woodlands tend to be created in rows and with little regard to tree species. We feel that using and regenerating existing woodlands is far more beneficial and eco friendly. We bury in circles around given trees and follow the root pattern so the trees are not damaged. The burial density is restricted to approximately 40% of a traditional cemetery to maintain the natural environment. Our woodlands are always open to the public and are also manned for security and to create a safe environment. We have footpaths, electric buggies for disabled users, toilet facilities and lots of benches and quiet seating areas.”
“There are still a few misconceptions about green funerals,” admits Nick, “people assume bamboo coffins are a green option but they are actually imported from China. There are also huge cost implications in manufacturing cardboard coffins too; in fact one of the greenest options is probably a pine casket. We don’t use headstones either. The stone is often imported from India and China and if not maintained they can become hazardous in a normal cemetery environment. We do encourage people to mark a grave with a wooden carving which harmonises with the woodland and we have some beautiful sculptures as a result.”
Despite strict Park rules and a little confusion over definitions Nick adds, “Woodland Burials and Green Funerals are increasing in popularity. The Woodland Cemeteries are only a small part of our ethos; people are favouring the ‘back to Nature’ aspect but the whole experience is emotionally beneficial too. Psychologically, people feel more relaxed and peaceful whilst waking through woodland which has a profound effect of the quality of people’s bereavement. There is an appreciation and realisation that life is continuous even amid the ever changing seasons.”
To find out more pop into www.woodlandburialparks.co.uk or call 01494 872158.