Natural burial grounds


A return to nature

Natural burial is for people looking for a more environmentally-friendly method of burial, rather than a grave with a traditional headstone.

It provides an alternative form of burial in which the accumulating graves will remain forever. The areas have been planned to recreate an eco-friendly environment and provide important environmental benefits for the encouragement and protection of wildlife.

Natural burial is available to everyone, irrespective of faith or religion. There is no need to follow traditional funeral patterns or religious ceremonies.

Grave spaces are recorded on maps, so they can be found in the woodland. Following an interment, sufficient time must be permitted to allow for the settlement of the ground. At the appropriate time of year the grave will be grassed over.

Woodland Valley Naturial Burial Ground

Set on the edge of the city overlooking the sea and the South Downs in Woodingdean, Woodland Valley offers a peaceful environment to lay your loved ones to rest. Situated within the Lawn Memorial Cemetery and planted with a range of suitable trees and features, Woodland Valley has been designed to create a meadow and woodland burial ground for interment and cremated remains.

The cemetery is divided into sections with all of the grave spaces accurately recorded on maps. Burial plots and cremated remains plots are both available. Up to two sets of remains can be buried in a cremated remains plot. Alternatively you can choose to scatter cremated remains in either our Sea View or Woodland Glade scattering areas.

A natural burial is for those wanting a more environmentally friendly means of burial, rather than a neat grave with a  traditional headstone. We have been working with plant and wildlife experts such as the Sussex Wildlife Trust to ensure the  cemetery is managed for the benefit of the flora and fauna of the site.  This includes details such as a mowing regime and so many areas will be cut less frequently than in a traditional cemetery.


To keep the burial ground as natural as possible, only biodegradable coffins, caskets or shrouds are permitted. Wooden coffins are accepted without metal or plastic fittings, and must be manufactured from timber felled in managed forests. Shrouds must be made from natural materials and fixed to wooden boards. A homemade coffin can be accepted if it meets the required standard and is approved at least three days prior to the burial. As with our existing woodland burial grounds, Woodland Valley is available to everyone, irrespective of faith or religion.

Purchasing a grave

Plots can be pre-purchased or purchased at the time of burial. If you would like to pre-purchase a grave you can download an application form (PDF 113KB), make an appointment at Woodvale Lodge or telephone the office for more information. If you are purchasing at the time of burial your Funeral Director can assist you with the required paperwork.


We encourage the owner of the grave to plant native wild flowers on the gravespace, to be in keeping with the chalkland meadow setting.  Other plants are not permitted and will be removed without prior notice.

A wooden memorial plaque with a choice of engraving is available to place on the grave. These will biodegrade naturally over time but can be replaced if required. Download an application form for a wooden memorial plaque (PDF 84KB).

Commemorative bench plaques are also available to purchase. Situated in the scattering area of the cemetery, each bench can accommodate up to five plaques. Download an application form for a bench plaque (PDF 68KB).

Stone memorials and ornaments of any kind are not permitted and will be removed.

Fees for Woodland Valley memorials

  • Solid English oak memorial plaque inclusive of up to three lines of engraved text - £417

  • Additional line of text£25

  • Engraved image - £POA

  • Plaque on shared memorial seat (for a 10 year period) - £488

Completed application forms, payments and enquiries should be directed toward the Cemeteries Officer:

Woodvale Lodge, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3QB.
01273 292318


Funeral services can be held at the graveside prior to a burial. There is no chapel in the grounds but services can be held at either the Extra-Mural Cemetery Chapel, for no extra cost, or the North and South Chapels at Woodvale Crematorium for a use of chapel fee.

Further information and opening times

Opening hours

Our cemeteries and cremation grounds are open to the public every day of the year:

Winter months, October to March

  • Monday to Saturday, 9am to 4pm

  • Sunday and public holidays, 11am to 4pm

Summer months, April to September

  • Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5.30pm

  • Sunday and public holidays, 11am to 5.30pm