Why opt for burial?

Approximately one quarter of funerals end with burial. Burial costs about the same as cremation; it is the traditional headstone which makes it more expensive as a large granite or marble stone costs upwards of £1,000. Generally, burial is quicker to arrange as there is less paperwork.

Here are some reasons people might opt for burial:

  • Fossil fuels are not needed in the way cremation demands.
  • Liking the idea of returning to the earth and contributing to the cycle of life after they have died.
  • Having a definite, permanent place where family and friends can visit.
  • Having one’s ‘afterlife’ remain as closely linked to the outdoors as possible.
  • Family tradition, or even a family plot.

How to make your burial greener:

  • Choose a suitable coffin: wicker, cardboard, or even a shroud.
  • Choose clothing made from natural fibres to dress the person who has died.
  • Keep the grave area free of man-made objects and opt for a modest, locally-sourced headstone – or no headstone if it’s a natural burial ground.

A wider aspect of green funerals is often the feeling that death is a natural part of life, and as such it may be engaged with and more openly discussed.

What are the local options for burial?


There is space in the lower part of Stroud Cemetery at the end of Horn’s Rd. Individual graves can be kept in a natural state, with bedding plants or small shrubs permitted. It is run by Stroud Town Council. From April 1st 2024, only people living in the STC boundary can be buried there. Double-depth plots are available. There is an anticipated three years left before for this cemetery is full, approximately 2027. You cannot pre-book.


There is space available in Brimscombe Cemetery, including the unconsecrated ‘Meadow’ area below the top path. These ‘Meadow’ graves are marked only by slate plaques fixed to the big posts, unlike the lower area which are marked by traditional headstones. This cemetery is run by Stroud District Council. You cannot pre-book.

Cemeteries adjoining the crematorium:

Gloucester, Cheltenham and Westerleigh crematoria grounds also have cemeteries, with a funeral service generally held prior to burial in the crematorium chapel or a local church. Or you can opt for a graveside-only funeral.


Click here for local churchyards that still have room for ‘full burial’ (as opposed to burial of ashes) of parishioners.

Green burial:

Greenfields Woodland of Remembrance:

A natural meadow, looking towards the Malvern Hills near Staunton, GL19 3NZ.  A dairy farm until 2005, Greenfields has a small barn converted into a chapel, and a wheeled bier to trundle the coffin to the site you have chosen. You can pick a native tree to plant on top of the grave. Informal, natural, family-run. NO WEBSITE.

Westmill Woodland Burial Ground:

A fine upland meadow looking over to the White Horse Vale, near Coleshill, SN5 8TH, between Swindon and Faringdon. Westmill is family-run, with a thatched roundhouse for the ceremony, and a wheeled bier for the coffin to rest on. View website

Bristol Memorial Woodlands:

Near Thornbury. A little more formal but extensive and you can have a tree planted. Stone-built chapel with music system. Catering available onsite. View website

Other green burial areas:

For other natural burial sites around the country, the Natural Death Centre holds a comprehensive list: http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk

Burial on your own land

Burial on your own land is possible if you have the landowner’s permission (or if you own a wood or a meadow), can pinpoint a spot “less than 50m from a water source or water course, and there are not more than two other people buried on that one piece of land”. Details of the burial need to be added to the house deeds. If this is something you would like to do, we can help you with Environment Agency permissions, grave preparation, registration paperwork, etc.

Burial at Sea

Often considered but rarely done, burial at sea involves a specially chartered boat, and a specially prepared coffin. You can have a ceremony locally, at the dockside, and/or a smaller one on board, and the coffin will be slipped over the side at the designated spot above the burial ground on the sea bed. The nearest site is off the Needles, Isle of Wight, with Lymington as the point of embarkation.

Other Burial Considerations


Headstones can be erected after the earth in the grave has settled which takes up to 12 months. The wording – and the stone – need prior approval by the cemetery or church authority, and the fees paid. The approved wording can then be carved into whatever type of stone you have chosen. Cotswold stone is unfortunately not suitable as it degrades too fast. The stone needs to be put in place by an approved installer, with ground anchors, concrete slab and appropriate fixings. A simply-worded headstone will cost upwards of £1,000 including fees and installation. Hand-carved letters will increase this cost.

Do also consider the environmental impact which comes with an imported stone memorial (not to mention concrete footings on the grave); this said, permanence is often the key factor in choosing burial over cremation: the grave being a permanent place to visit. 

Grave Maintenance

In both a churchyard and a council-run cemetery, it is the responsibility of the family to look after the grave; the surrounding grounds in both will usually be strimmed at least twice a year by church volunteers or council workers. Regulations vary between sites about planting and memorial items but the general rule for both types of burial site is for it all to be neat, easily managed, and to fit in with the rest of the graves in the site.

Churchyard and council-run graves and ashes burial plots belong to the church. Part of the fee that has been paid is for the ‘Exclusive Right of Burial’ which endures for 50–75 years. The distress caused by assuming that ‘anything goes’ can be enormous so do check what is permitted.

We will work with you to design and arrange exactly the type of funeral that you and your family feel is right for the person who has died.

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