Burial Guide

A guide to organising a burial at Pentiddy

(The items in bold italics are essential to enable us to manage the area to the high standards expected by the Association of Natural Burial Grounds and to ensure a pleasant, ecologically rich site which effectively reflects our ethos.)

Viewing the Site

Please phone to make an appointment to meet one of us on site to discuss your idea for the funeral and to choose a plot.  You are welcome to choose a plot anywhere within the site, but please note each individual plot will not be marked by a tree. Our plot map shows the woodland design and proposed canopy of trees relative to each plot. This may be helpful in the selection of a suitable burial spot.

Our services

We do not provide a full funeral director service but are happy to work alongside your chosen funeral provider. Each burial is very different and individually tailored to the requirements of the family or the specific wishes of the deceased.

We are happy to support those families who choose to carry out the whole or part of the funeral themselves. We can offer assistance both beforehand and on the day. Please see our document on family led funerals if you are not intending to use the services of a funeral director.

The Service

Some families have a service elsewhere before they come for the burial. Other families prefer to hold the service at the graveside or at the stone circle near the entrance or not to have a service or ceremony at all.

We welcome people of all beliefs and none, enabling you to choose the most appropriate way of conducting the funeral. Many people use a representative of their religion, but you could also use a non-religious celebrant, a friend or family member. We can provide contacts and advice.

Roundhouse Hire

The roundhouse near to the burial site can be booked for a funeral ceremony or gatherings after the burial has taken place. It is a short walk from the burial site but is feasible with a coffin in most cases. There is no charge for using the roundhouse but we do ask for a donation for its upkeep. We are happy to supply firewood for a fire inside or outside the roundhouse and canvas walls to keep out the weather. There is a small charge for these. The area is open to the public but can be booked for the whole day if you want to have a private gathering. Between the roundhouse and the burial site is an Oak glade which is also available for use if you would prefer.

Facilities

There are no facilities on site but provision can be made for water and toilets for families wishing to use the site for a whole day.

The nearest public toilets are at the Community Centre in the village 2 minutes drive away.

There is a car park for 15 cars and further roadside parking for around 20 cars. If you anticipate many attendees, please try and arrange to share travel to the site.

Coffins

As an eco-friendly burial site, we only accept biodegradable non toxic coffins. MDF and plywood are prohibited and we do not permit non-degradable linings and fittings.

There are many types of eco-coffin available. In most cases your funeral director will help you to make the right choice but we can advise you if you are choosing to lead the funeral yourself.

In line with our ethics, coffins used at Pentiddy are preferably not imported thereby supporting local crafts people and reducing our carbon footprint from the transportation. Traditional, solid wood coffins are welcomed as long as they are not made of or veneered with tropical hardwoods and preferably sourced from sustainably managed woodlands. Untreated native oak and pine are fine. However, woven willow is far preferable from an environmental point of view as it only takes 1 year to grow the rods for its construction. Cardboard is very popular and inexpensive and there are a variety of designs available. Some families choose not to use a coffin at all in these cases we are happy to accept biodegradable body bags or shrouds. We do allow grave-goods as long as they are made from natural materials.

For the ‘greenest’ options we now have either a willow coffins made especially for Pentiddy using willow grown on site and woven in the village or we have the ultimate green shroud using Hazel grown on site as a base and woven sheep fleeces from the sheep that graze the site to make the shroud itself. Please see our coffins and shrouds page for more information on these products.

The same regulations apply for urns for ashes.

* We reserve the right to refuse burial if the above conditions are not met.

Embalming

Because this is a green site we request that the deceased are not embalmed, sometimes called ‘hygienic treatment’. Please make this clear to your funeral director. An exception would be made for repatriation or if it was deemed necessary for medical reasons.

Graves

As we intend that the woodland naturalises over time we do not preserve the identity of individual graves, and we do not allow permanent grave markers.  However a plan of the cemetery showing plot locations is supplied to each family and is also available here.

Families are welcome, with supervision, to back-fill the grave themselves.

* Grave markers and materials deemed to be inappropriate will be removed from graves.

* No body shall be buried unless the death has been registered and the proper documentation supplied. No cremated remains shall be buried without permission.

* Scattering of ashes is not permitted anywhere on the site.

Flowers

In keeping with our ethos, we recommend that you ask attending mourners to remove plastic from floral tributes. We also ask that any funeral tributes are constructed using natural products and not formed with oasis and plastic trays as this creates a considerable disposal problem. Tributes containing oasis will be removed immediately and you may be asked to take them home with you. Cut flowers may be placed on the grave at any time but will be removed after a reasonable period.

Planting on Graves

Planting on graves is restricted and closely monitored for 2 reasons:

1) We have had much difficulty getting people to understand the idea of only planting native species to prevent cross-pollination and the irreversible contamination of our native species.

2) We now manage the grass by grazing and hay making so working around plants flowering at all times through the Spring and Summer is not possible. Nature is wonderful and will naturally re-colonise the site given time, so if you can be patient and allow natural regeneration it will provide the most suitable plants for this location. ​

If you still wish to plant something on the site then we can supply primroses and bluebells that we know to be of native stock or you can check your own plants with us before planting. The most common plants we have to remove are Spanish Bluebells, Primula/Polyanthus and Daffodils/Narcissus.

* All non-native plants will be removed

Pre-purchase Plots

When you purchase a plot at Pentiddy Natural Burials you are purchasing the ‘right of burial’ in that plot only and as such this does not confer ownership of the ground or any other rights. There is no time limit on a purchase. Once paid for, the right of burial remains with you indefinitely.

Attendees

In order that the the necessary information is disseminated to friends and family attending a funeral please share the following link or download and print our ‘attending a funeral’ document at http://www.pentiddy.co.uk/attendee.pdf

An ecological choice for burials in South-East Cornwall