Natural burials

When choosing the most appropriate way to lay your loved one to rest, we believe it’s important to understand all your options. Natural burials provide a more environmentally friendly solution, allowing you to further consider the desires of the deceased. Here at Wallace Stuart Limited, we believe in providing you with the compassion, support and information to choose the right method to say goodbye to your loved one. In this guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about natural burials.

What Is a Natural Burial?

During a normal service, the deceased is laid in a traditional coffin which is lowered down into the earth. Historically, there was little focus on how this casing decomposed over time or how the chemicals used in processes such as embalming impacted the soil around it. Natural burials call for a change to these traditional methods. The aim is to return the body back to the earth in the most natural way. Therefore, these celebrations normally take place in open green spaces and with coffins made from biodegradable materials.

Once a person is laid to rest, there are no traditional headstones. Instead, biodegradable markers are used to mark the point of burial. For some, this type of service gives peace of mind. It allows their body to feel reconnected to the earth while eliminating the worry of adverse side effects.

Advantages of Natural Burials

How you choose to lay your loved one to rest is a very personal decision, to both you and the deceased.

Natural burials allow you to:

  • Take a more environmentally-friendly approach to the burial process.
  • Allow decomposition to happen at a natural rate, reducing the risk of negative impact on soil and the surrounding grounds.
  • Bury your loved one in a most cost-effective manner.
  • Take an active approach towards conservation efforts.
  • Reduce the fuss surrounding traditional burials.
  • Lay your loved one to rest in the most beautiful of surroundings.

Disadvantages of Natural Burials

It is important to us that you have all of the information available to make your decision. So, here are a few disadvantages of opting for a natural burial.

  • The lack of grave markings makes it difficult to pay your respects or feel close to a loved one after the ceremony.
  • While decomposition is left to nature, natural burial sites can require the body to be buried lower than the standard 2 feet. This slows down the decomposition process and may not be preferable to all parties.

Biodegradable Coffins for Natural Burials

In the UK, there is no law stating that a coffin must be used for a burial. The only stipulation is that ‘It is an offence to expose a dead body near a public highway’. Therefore, you have more freedom with the options available than you may previously think. For natural burials, the focus is on biodegradable materials. Willow coffins, wool coffins, cardboard coffins and even shrouds can all be used to lay a loved one to rest.

Willow Coffin

With their organic beauty and natural ability to be paired with flowers for decoration, willow coffins are a very popular choice. We offer two types here at Wallace Stuart Limited – Somerset Willow Coffins and European Willow Coffins. With a variety of shapes and mediums to choose from, they can be lined or left plan to suit your specific needs.

Wool Coffins

Hand-crafted in Yorkshire, these beautiful coffins are entirely biodegradable. They come in both natural or grey wool and provide a warm, cosy environment for your loved one.

Cardboard Coffins

Cardboard is a biodegradable and sustainable option for coffins. While the concept feels unusual at first, our range of cardboard coffins are sturdy and perfectly suited to natural burials. They can be printed with messages and images for a personalized touch. Or, left plain to be paired with flowers and organic decorations.


A shroud is a length of material which is wrapped around a deceased body instead of a coffin. Our Bellacouche Shrouds are handmade in Devon from fully biodegradable and environmentally friendly material. They allow your loved one to be close to nature, from the moment they are buried.

This guide will discuss what natural burials are and why they have become a popular choice. It will talk about how these grounds are designed to minimise the environmental impact of embalming and can normally only be marked by biodegradable markers. The guide will include pros and cons for this type of funeral to help families make the decision that’s right for them. Where relevant, it will include inner linking back to the main website.

Where to Find a Natural Burial Ground?

If this form of burial is the most appealing, there are over 270 green burial grounds throughout the UK. The first was opened in Carlisle Cemetery in 1993 and now, with the concept becoming more popular year-on-year, you’ll find options throughout the country. The Natural Death Centre has a list of all-natural burial grounds in the UK, while also running The People’s Awards for the Best Natural Burial Ground in the UK. In 2020, CairnBrae Natural Burial Ground was awarded this accolade.

How Much Does a Natural Burial Cost?

The charge for a natural burial is often less than a traditional burial, due to the nature of the coffin. However, this is only relevant to the location you choose and the additional requirements specified by you or your loved one.

You’ll need to take into account:

  • The price of the grace space.
  • The price of the coffin or shroud.
  • The price of transportation.
  • The price of floral tributes.
  • The interment fee (incurred for opening up and closing the grave).

Here at Wallace Stuart Limited, we’re here to support you as you lay your loved one to rest. If you have decided on a natural funeral, our directors can help organise everything to remove as much stress as possible. Please do get in contact today to discuss how our services can help you and your family.