Scottish site named best place to be buried naturally in the UK

The burial ground in Aberdeenshire was the first of its kind in Scotland and has scooped an award.

Scottish site named best place to be buried naturally in the UK Clovery Woods of Rest

A Scottish site has been named the best place to be buried naturally in the UK.

Clovery Woods of Rest became Scotland’s first eco-friendly burial ground when it opened in 2003.

Situated in Fyvie against the backdrop of rolling Aberdeenshire hills, the site was awarded as the Natural Death Centre’s best natural burial ground ahead of 200 entries across the UK.

A natural burial sees human remains interred in a place that creates a habitat for wildlife or preserves existing habitats such as woodland, meadows or orchards.

“Some people prefer to be laid to rest in a rural place rather than a cemetery in town,” said Fiona Rankin, owner of the Clovery Woods of Rest.

“It’s a nice place to be. We have a woodland burial ground but no headstones. It looks like a wood.

“People come to spend time here, walk their dogs and visit the resting places.

Ms Rankin opened the site with her husband in 20 years ago, and says raising awareness of more natural and alternative ceremonies is key.

“More people are wanting to do things a bit more naturally nowadays, with climate change worries, if somebody gets cremated that is about sixty kilos of carbon going in to the atmosphere,” she told STV News.

“People have got more control with planning their own funeral with this sort of funeral. They don’t have to stick to convention.”

Individuals have the option of being laid to rest, including a scattering or interment of ashes, near an existing tree or having a dedicated tree planted in their honour at the time of burial. 

Trees can be planted in dedication to a loved one at the site. Photo: Clovery Woods of Rest.

“There are a lot of people in Scotland that still don’t know about natural burials,” Ms Rankin said.

“The Natural Death Centre gives out awards every year and we’ve been best in Scotland and runner up for the best in UK before.

“This is the first time we’ve won both and its very exciting.

“The idea of natural burials is becoming more popular in Scotland now as opposed to traditional funerals but it still has a long way to go.

“Even in my area, people don’t know this place exists.”

The Natural Death Centre’s awards are based on positive customer feedback forms which Clovery sends to the charity based in Winchester.

Independent judges then decide the winners.

Ms Rankin added: “It’s really what my customers are saying about me and we really try to take care of them.

“We want to look after people at a time when they need it because some of them can be vulnerable. We do our best to provide the environment and the service for them.

“I’m absolutely delighted and I want more people to know about natural burials as an alternative.”

The site remains open 24/7 to members of the public who wish to roam the grounds.

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