Our latest shop window at 7 High Street Totnes is on the theme of natural burial. We are blessed with several beautiful natural burial grounds in the area, all very different. Sharpham Meadow near Totnes has wonderful views down the River Dart, across the South Hams to the sea; Bidwell Woodland at Rattery is a quiet valley with
mature trees around, a wonderful oak tree under which we often hold the main part of the ceremony; Yealmpton Woodland with spectacular views to Dartmoor; South Hams Woodland near Aveton Gifford with outstanding views of the Devon countryside.
We are surprised how few natural burials take place and wonder if it is because they are often not offered to families. These 4 sites may be having no more than 100 burials a year between them (compare that with 2500 cremations at Torquay). And yet they are beautiful places where you can have an informal and relaxed ceremony. Two have small shelters, but they all have venues near them where the main ceremony can take place in winter months. And they are lovely to visit after the burial has taken place in those moments when you need to sit quietly with your thoughts. Compare that with the bustle and time constraints of the crematorium.
Apart from Sharpham Meadow the cost of burial is comparable or below the cost of cremation. Often people use a less formal car than a hearse, which is also a cost saving. They all insist on biodegradable coffins, most commonly cardboard, pine or willow.
This is an option well worth considering.
From The Beauty of Death – Tears and Laughter by Kahlil Gibrain
Take from me all earthly clothing and place me deep in my
Mother Earth: and place me with care upon my mother’s breast.
Cover me with soft earth and let each handful be mixed
with seeds and bulbs of daffodils and lilies; and when they
Grow above me and thrive on my body’s element, they will
Breathe the fragrance of my heart into space;
And reveal even to the sun the secret of my peace;
And sail with the breeze and comfort the wayfarer.
Leave me then, friends – leave me and depart on mute feet,