23 May 2013

New Woodland burial area in a peaceful setting on the edge of the city

Woodland burial is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional cemetery grounds. Brighton & Hove City Council’s Bereavement Services team has created a new Natural Burial cemetery in response to demand for this burial option.

The new Woodland Valley cemetery is on the edge of the city, overlooking the Sussex Downs and with views of the sea. The two acre ground is near the Lawn Memorial Cemetery on Warren Road, Woodingdean.

The countryside location has been chosen for its natural beauty and will be enhanced with carefully selected plants suitable for the existing environment.

The council is keen to ensure fees are competitive compared to nearby natural burial grounds. Prices start at £1,250 for a single plot.

Planting began in January to transform the field into a flourishing meadow with trees, shrubs and hedgerows. The woods will mature over five to ten years and continue to grow for decades ahead. Foliage has been chosen to suit the location and encourage wildlife.

To keep an organic and free flowing feel to the development, plots will be placed in different areas around the cemetery rather than in conventional straight rows throughout. The central Woodland Walk is designed with a circular distribution of plots mingled with forest-style planting. Other areas will be mainly linear in layout, with foliage distributed among the graves to create the growing woodland environment.

Instead of headstones, each grave will be marked only with an unobtrusive ground level metal plaque. Small wooden memorials and wildflowers will also be available to personalise graves. The different locations are also clearly recorded on a site map so visitors can find their way around the woodland. The overall effect is a calm, contemplative and pleasant place to visit in a beautiful natural setting.

There will be approximately 1,800 burial plots available. In keeping with the conservation and environmental focus, only bio-degradable coffins are allowed at woodland burial cemeteries in the city. A separate area where cremated remains may be scattered is also being planned.

Councillor Leo Littman, responsible for Life Events for Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “The plans for Woodland Valley are sensitive to the changing needs of people in the city and to the environment. The location offers a tranquil place to be calm and remember loved ones. The area is already an attractive location and will grow even more beautiful over time as the woodland grows to maturity.  It is an honour to be involved in helping to improve choice for people in need of bereavement services.”

Planning permission was confirmed in January 2013 from the South Downs National Park to develop the site into the Woodland Valley Cemetery.

More information:

  • Small wooden memorials, in keeping with the surroundings, will be available for family and friends to purchase to mark graves.
  • There will be no lighting within Woodland Valley. The area will be open during the existing daytime cemetery opening hours.
  • To encourage wildlife, such as rabbits, butterflies and bees, wildflowers and grassland will be encouraged to grow in the meadow. Paths will be cleared for ease of access.
  • Plots will be available to purchase from this week. The cost of buying a plot in Woodland Valley begins at about £1,250.