Visiting Michael's Wood Natural Burial Ground on a sunny January morning has inspired me to re-think about where I would like to be buried.
I met up with the site's manager Artemis Cropper and together we wandered around this beautiful place. She told me how they had lost a large number of mature trees in the hurricane of 1987 and it was the opening up of the wood that inspired the family to create this unique burial ground.
"The fringe of the wood has a dense screen of Hawthorn and Blackthorn, while the interior is dotted with a variety of native trees including Horse Chestnut, Yew and Hazel around open areas where wild grasses and flowers abound with butterflies in Summer"
Even with the winter trees bare, the wood has a magical feel. We saw deer in the distance and there was the constant sight and sound of birds in the branches. I loved the fact that there was such a variety of free standing trees. Many people are choosing to have a tree planted as a monument, so the wood continues to grow and evolve.
The burial ground is environmentally friendly. Coffins are willow or other easily biodegradable material and the graves are marked simply with wooden or Purbeck Stone tablets, sunk into the grass.
I'm particularly impressed by the fact that there are both animal and human graves here. So you can be buried alongside all of your loved ones.
They cater for all religions and cultures and have full burials, internment of ashes or scattering of ashes. Many families come regularly in the summer to visit a grave and stay to enjoy the beauty of this ancient wood, leaving feeling comforted by its peace and tranquillity.
Artemis is passionate about the wood and was incredibly friendly and helpful to me. I look forward to being involved in ceremonies there in the future.
For more details here is the link: http://www.woodlandburialscholderton.co.uk/