Bath academic reveals rising interest in eco-burials
Research by an academic from Bath has highlighted the increase in interest in woodland burials.
The new study shows that environmental concerns, a desire to give something back to nature and fears over the burden of arrangements on families are the main reasons why people choose natural burials.
Dr Hannah Rumble, a research officer in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath, has also concluded that religious and non-religious people are equally attracted to the concept.
The research suggests that Britain is leading the way globally in natural, or woodland, burials where people
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are typically buried in a woodland setting, field or meadow in wicker or cardboard coffins.
More than 260 natural burial sites now operate across the country, including one recently opened at Midford.
Dr Rumble said: “What is interesting is that natural or woodland burial appeals to people of all faiths and none. It isn’t a fad for secularists.
“There’s something therapeutic about imagining ourselves returning to nature in a natural setting, whatever our personal beliefs are.
“The motif of nature provides comfort and meaning for a great number of people.”
The study saw Dr Rumble working with Durham University’s Centre for Death and Life Studies and revealed some people wanted a natural burial because they did not want to “make a fuss”.
The Bath Natural Burial Meadow has opened on land owned by the Cross family at Midford.
It has so far hosted two burials, which can be overseen by ministers, non-religious celebrants or the family themselves.
Owner Janet Cross said the family had been keen to get more of an income from part of its 50-acre land holding.
She said: “I have always been interested in the idea of natural burials.
“The throughout at the crematorium is so great, it’s so rushed, and here you can take as much time as you want.
“It’s open to everyone and I just like the idea of it.”