Natural Burial Wood
Returning all that we are to the soil for the benefit of nature
A Place of Shelter, Peace and Tranquility
Sheepdrove Burial Wood sits high on the windswept chalk downland at the cross roads of four drovers’ ridgeways. This ancient and hallowed landscape is part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Visitors to our burial ground are welcome to come and go as they please all year round – there are no restrictions.
The paths through the woodland are perfect for a peaceful stroll while the network of ridgeways that converges at the gate to the burial wood affords a more bracing ramble – indeed, The Ridgeway itself, Britain’s oldest road, an ancient track which extends from Wiltshire along the ridge of the Berkshire Downs to the River Thames at Goring Gap, is within walkable distance along one of these drover’s waysides.
The burial ground itself is a broad leaf deciduous woodland sheltered by mature hedgerows of hawthorn, blackthorn and briar rose. A tapestry of native wildflowers – cowslips, wild orchids, oxeye daisies, red campion, lady’s bedstraw and devil’s bit scabious – flourish under the trees, providing sustenance and shelter for bees and other pollinators throughout spring and summer. It is a beautiful place to spend eternity.
The wood is surrounded by the two thousand acres of green pastures, wildflower meadows, ancient woodland and fields of heritage grains that make up Sheepdrove Organic Farm.
Sheepdrove welcomes everybody; we embrace all faiths and no faith, any type of ceremony or no ceremony – the choice is yours.
Our Natural Burial Wood allows both full burial and ashes interment in an undisturbed final resting place.
Sheepdrove Natural Burial Wood
An interment fee is the fee we charge for digging the ashes plot at the time of the funeral. As an additional service we can provide a tractor and trailer ride for up to 30 guests from the Sheepdrove to the burial ground. Burial and ashes plots can be purchased in advance which enables you to fix the cost at today’s prices.
Burial Plot ~ £1200
Child Burial Plot (under 12) ~ £600
Interment Fee ~ £320
Tractor & Trailer Ride ~ £125 + VAT
Ashes Plot ~ £500
Interment Fee ~ £90
Tractor & Trailer Ride ~ £125 + VAT
Celebration of Life Prices
Family and friends are very welcome to gather both before or after the burial at our sustainable green events venue on the farm where we can also host both intimate or larger celebrations of life and wakes. Find out more.
The Oak Room (capacity up to 150) ~ £650 + VAT
The Beech Room (capacity up to 50) ~ £360 +VAT
We know you’re likely to have lots of questions. The following may help when you are considering a natural burial. Have a look at what we’ve been asked before, and do contact us if we can help in any way.
A natural burial embraces all faiths, or no faith at all, allowing mourners perfect freedom to acknowledge and celebrate loved ones exactly as they wish. Bodies are committed to the land with minimal disturbance to the natural environment and with no lasting impact. Graves remain unmarked, (although plotted with a highly accurate geographic information system GIS), allowing the natural habitat to become a living memorial. More information on natural burials can be found at The Natural Death Centre www.naturaldeath.org.uk
No. Consecrated ground has been made or declared sacred or holy a specific religion. Sheepdrove’s Burial Wood is open to people of all faiths, or no faith.
No. Many people choose to make all of the arrangements themselves although some prefer the support of a professional. A good funeral director or undertaker will provide as much or as little help as you require.
You do not have to have any service at all although most people choose to have some form of ceremony to mark the burial of a loved one.
Although we are not funeral directors ourselves, we are able to put you in touch with relevant professionals and will liaise appropriately to ensure that all goes smoothly.
Yes, Sheepdrove’s sustainable green venue can accommodate a wide range of catering options, from a simple cup of tea to formal seated dining for up to 150 guests. For more details please call 01488 674747 or firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more.
We are a member of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds which has been established by The Natural Death Centre; this means we comply with the ANBG Code of Conduct aimed at ensuring the highest professional and environmental standards. We are also registered with the West Berkshire Council.
Sheepdrove Natural Burial Wood is held in trust in perpetuity, that is, for an indefinitely long period of time. Should the burial ground ever cease to operate or reach maximum capacity, it will be set aside as a memorial woodland.
No, this will never happen. No burial plots will be re-used.
Only 100% bio-degradable materials may be buried. Wool, cotton, wicker and cardboard are all acceptable. It is important to select a coffin that is only made of natural, sustainable materials which will degrade safely without damaging the local environment. We do not insist on the use of coffins. Families may choose a shroud and something practical to carry or contain the body to the woodland area, such as a stretcher or wicker basket.
Our native woodland is intended as a living memorial and so, in order to preserve its natural beauty, no memorials are permitted in the wood except for cut natural flowers or planted wildflowers (see below for more details) or natural, native British and fully biodegradable small tributes hand crafted from willow or wood. The burial plot ought to be allowed to return to nature, not gardened and manicured, as we wish to ensure the burial wood remains as natural as possible for the benefit of the environment and all who visit.
Yes, you can. Cut flowers can be placed on graves providing they are free of all wrapping, containers, ribbons etc. Our wood lies within the North Wessex Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so all flowers planted there must be native species appropriate to the landscape. Wildflower plugs and native bulbs can be planted or native wildflower seeds may be scattered after the burial.
There is already a wealth of naturally occurring wild flowers in our wood but you may plant on the burial mound –
primrose (Primula vulgaris)
cowslip (Primula veris)
common dog violet (Viola riviniana)
sweet violet, (Viola odorata)
wood forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica)
foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
red campion (Silene dioica)
bugle (Ajuga reptans)
wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare)
Naturalising bulbs include –
snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) BUT NOT SPANISH Hyacinthoides hispanica.
Sheepdrove Natural Burial Wood is an established native woodland and there are currently no spaces available for new tree dedications.
Adjacent plots can be purchased. We are unable to accommodate two bodies in one grave.
Yes, Sheepdrove Natural Burial Wood is open 24 hours a day, every day, all year round.
Yes. Keep dogs on the lead and clean up any mess your pet makes.
These terms and conditions have been devised to ensure that our burial ground remains as wild and natural as possible. The site will be maintained to ensure full access, whilst maintaining the wild nature of the site. It is a natural burial ground and not treated or managed as a garden.
We ask that when you are visiting the burial ground you are sensitive to others, enabling everyone to enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the site. All dogs to be kept on leads and all litter taken away with you.
It is important to read all terms and conditions carefully. If you are not comfortable with conditions detailed below, a natural burial may not be right for you.
Terms for the Plot Holder
You, as the plot holder agree to the following:
- To use a biodegradable coffin/shroud made with natural materials
- Not to embalm the body
- Not to clear undergrowth or bring soil or additional materials to the site
- Not to plant anything without consulting Sheepdrove in the first instance
- Not to place any permanent signs or features on the plot
- No plastic coverings or artificial flowers/ribbons can be placed on the plot
- Flowers left in the wood must be entirely in their natural state
Terms for Sheepdrove Organic Farm & Natural Burial Ground:
Sheepdrove Organic Farm & Natural Burial Ground agree to the following:
- To provide GPS markers to enable you to locate the section where your plot is situated
- To maintain a map with plots marked on it for ease of location
- To keep a Burial Register
- To guarantee that a plot can be provided next to a loved one if required (note that it is not possible to double dig a plot)
- To ensure that the maintenance of the site is set in perpetuity as a Memorial Woodland
These terms and conditions do not create any right of exclusive occupation or any freehold interest in the land by you as the plot holder. You will be informed of any change of contact details to keep your records updated.
Skylark Flower Company
All of our flowers are lovingly grown and nurtured in two small plots nestled in the rural villages of Eastbury and East Garston. We grow with the environment and wildlife in mind and take huge delight in watching the change in seasons and what each one brings.
Headley Flower Garden
Based on half an acre of flowers and foliage on the Hampshire/West Berkshire border, Headley Flower Garden uses their own seasonal flowers in their farewell flowers. The wide variety of plants grown support a host of insects and wildlife. The floristry products used are all compostable, recyclable or reusable.
Little Park Flowers
Little Park Flowers is an artisan flower farm and florist, growing seasonal, country garden flowers, in the once neglected, Victorian cottage gardens of a small country estate in Brimpton, West Berkshire. Imagine planning your flowers and being involved in watching them grow, all the way through from seed to your ultimate wedding bouquet. Imagine knowing exactly where each and every flower has come from and being confident that your flowers have been grown in an environmentally thoughtful way.
Horse Drawn Occasions
Sheepdrove’s neighbours Horse Drawn Occasions have Shire, Suffolk Punch and Fresian horses. They can offer a hearse with the traditional black plumes and drapes or a more rustic wagon pulled by the heavy horses. A horse drawn funeral is the perfect match with an eco-friendly natural funeral and provide a truly memorable journey to your loved one’s final resting place
Above & Beyond Funerals Ltd
Land Rover Defender Hearse Hire
Our beautifully presented Land Rover available for hire has been carefully sourced and lovingly converted into a hearse. It is a truly befitting way for any 4×4 enthusiast to take their final journey.
R.C. Smallbone Funeral Directors
Family run R.C. Smallbone Funeral Directors can provide the personal and friendly service you need at this difficult time. Based in Newbury, our local and independent funeral services have been serving West Berkshire for over 60 years.
R & H Barker Independent Funeral Director
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we face but, with R & H Barker as your Funeral Director, you will not be alone. Our compassionate, professional team will support you at this most challenging of times, and help make your burden a little lighter. Let us guide you through the decisions, and we’ll help you plan a unique, personal funeral, together. We’ll make it a day to remember, for all the right reasons: a fitting tribute to a life well lived.
Please call us on 01235 510033
West Berkshire Funeral Directors
West Berkshire Funeral Directors are an independent family-run funeral company with forty years experience who provide a respectful and compassionate service, offering a full range of services so you can be in complete control when saying farewell to your loved one. We'll go the extra mile to help guide you through all the arrangements, offering you clear straightforward and informative advice.
J. Godfrey & Son Funeral Services
J. Godfrey & Son Funeral Services are an independent family run business operating in the Oxfordshire area since 1910. We are extremely proud to offer a personal, friendly, family service, where we are directly contactable 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We consider it an honour and a privilege to help you through such a difficult and emotional period in your life and pride ourselves on offering a service with a high standard of attention to detail in creating a funeral service which your loved one deserves.
Exit Here Funeral Directors
At Exit Here we know from personal experience that planning a funeral can be overwhelming. With our help it doesn’t need to be. We understand your grief and will be there to listen, advise and guide you through every step. We’ll help you make choices that are right for you. That might mean a close-knit family funeral or a much larger memorial, a traditional ceremony or a more modern service followed by a gathering. Whatever you want, we will provide the support you need. When a death occurs, we are available to you 24/7.
Ed Carter Funeral Director
For three generations we’ve been arranging funerals in Oxfordshire with care and compassion. We offer complete funeral services and are with you every step of the way.
Independent and humanist celebrants work closely with the family and friends to create a unique and personal ceremony that is both a dignified farewell and a celebration of a life. A typical funeral often includes pieces of music and readings, but the heart of the ceremony is the tribute section, which lasts up to 15 minutes and might be written by the celebrant and/or include a variety of tributes paid by family and friends. Celebrants are trained in creating non-religious, semi-religious, new age or holistic ceremonies. Humanism is founded on shared values rooted in our common humanity and our shared human needs, transcending particular cultural and religious traditions and respecting the rights and equal dignity of all human beings.
Alison Carter, Celebrant, Springwood Ceremonies.
Please call 07766 750 446 or email www.springwoodceremonies.co.uk
Beth Whaley Celebrant
Please call 07908813390 or send an email www.bethwhaleycelebrant.uk
Lesley Bottomley, Humanist Celebrant.
Please call 01235 767309 or 07798666364 or email
Louise Jopling, BHA Funeral Celebrant.
-Please call 01722 782695 or 07966 509207 or email
Simon Hodkin, Humanist Celebrant.
Please call 01488 649564 or 07711 145 904 or email
All tributes and memorials must be natural, native British and fully bio-degradable; small, hand crafted wildlife sculptures made of willow or wood are permitted.
Natural burials grounds have strict rules on memorialisation and planting – no permanent grave markers are allowed; the exact location of the grave will be recorded through mapping. Natural burials are a return to nature and must leave no trace; your loved one will become part of the natural landscape. All tributes and memorials must be natural, native British and fully bio-degradable; small, hand crafted wildlife sculptures made of willow or wood are permitted. Please get in touch before commissioning any memorial as we do enforce a size limit with any item over 75 cm in height or width removed.
Twisted Willow Creations
Traditional and contemporary willow sculptures; commissions accepted.
Please call 07791 947027 or visit
Extraordinary willow sculptures and courses near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.
Please call 01572 720741 or visit www.rutlandwillows.co.uk
The Conscious Carver
Hand carved sculptures in reclaimed timber by wood carver Tom Jennings
Please call 07432 571247
Willow Chickens are available to buy or you can attend a course, either in person in Berkshire, Hampshire or Surrey, or online and make your own willow tribute!
Please call 0774 9852229 or visit www.judithneedham.co.uk
Patrick Bateman who created our farm animals wooden sculpture accepts commission for wooden carvings.
Please call 07984 439491 or visit https://hbstudios.co.uk/art-and-sculpture-projects/