Regulations of Use

We kindly ask all visitors to comply our regulations of use, which are set out to ensure that the ethos of a natural burial ground is maintained.

  • Belsay Woodland Burial Ground is open 365 days a year.  Please note that at certain times, access to individual graves may be restricted, for instance, when an adjacent grave is being dug.
  • All visitors enter the site at their own risk and take care on uneven, muddy or slippery ground.  Please wear appropriate, sturdy footwear.
  • The Estate reserves the right to close all or part of the Site at any time in the interests of public safety.
  • Please give due consideration, privacy and respect to any funeral, memorial or burial services taking place.  Please turn off any mobile phones.
  • Please do not place any ornaments, toys, photographs or other memorials on graves.  Only simple stone memorials or trees provided by our suppliers are allowed.
  • Only fresh flowers may be left on site.  No cellophane, containers, such as vases, pots, bottles or baskets are permitted.  Funeral arrangements may be left immediately after a burial and will be removed by the Estate soon after.
  • We reserve the right to remove anything found on the Site that is deemed inappropriate for a natural burial ground, such as plastic flowers, wind charms or toys etc.
  • Please do not pick, cut or prune flowers, trees or shrubs on Site.  All maintenance work is to be carried out by the Estate. No planting of bulbs, flowers, seeds, unless expressly approved by the Estate.  Please appreciate that we are creating and maintaining a natural environment.
  • Please do not try to attach anything on to any trees or shrubs on site.  Please do not deface trees.
  • Please remove all litter from the site.  There is a litter bin provided in the car park.
  • Dogs are welcome but must be on a short lead at all times.  No dog fouling.  Please ensure that you clear up after your dog.
  • No children under 16 years of age are allowed on site without an accompanying adult.
  • Disabled Access: every effort has been made to ensure that access is as easy as possible for disabled visitors.  However, due to the natural topography of the site, assistance may be needed.  Please contact the office on 01661 881206.
  • No camping on the Site is permitted.
  • No ball games or electronic ‘noisy’ games on the Site.
  • All cars must be parked in the Car Park.  No vehicles, such as bikes, quadbikes or ATVs on Site without the prior permission of the Estate.
  • Please note that there are no toilet facilities on Site.  The nearest loos are at the Blacksmith’s Coffee Shop.
  • Visitors to the Site must comply with the Criminal Damages Act 1971, Article 1, Section 1 (see notes below)*

Grave Plots and Burials

  • Only one body may be interred in one grave.
  • Each grave measures 3m x 1.5m and can accommodate one coffin.
  • Only fully biodegradable and envionmentally-friendly coffins are permitted; these include wicker, bamboo, softwood, recycled paper and recycled board.  Shrouds, made of natural fibres, are also allowed.  All burial or interment vessels including fixtures, fittings, linings and pillows must be biodegradable.
  • Personal possessions may be interred with a body, as long as they are made of natural materials.
  • A body that has been embalmed, or otherwise treated with noxious and toxic chemicals, cannot be interred at the Site.
  • Interments cannot take place at the Site until the death has been legally registered and the appropriate documentation received by the Estate at least 48 hours in advance of the Interment.
  • Cremated remains cannot be scattered at the Site but must be interred in biodegradable caskets or boxes, or poured directly into the grave plot.
  • Flower arrangements may be placed on graves at the time of a funeral or memorial service.  They will be removed by the Estate after a few days to ensure that any non-biodegradable matter is taken from the Site and does not interfere with the natural environment.
  • Trees planted on Site as living memorials are guaranteed by the Estate for 5 years; if a tree dies during this period it will be replaced by the Estate in the appropriate season.  After that time, the woodland will begin to develop naturally and will be managed by the Estate accordingly.

Health and Safety

  • Visitors enter Belsay Woodland Burial Ground at their own risk.  Please be aware that you may encounter uneven ground, muddy or slippery conditions and wear appropriate footwear.  Take care of open grave excavation and vehicle movements. Please use common sense at all times and avoid the Site in storms or periods of high winds.
  • Those bearing coffins need to take particular care.  If you have engaged the services of a funeral director, they will supervise the funeral and guide any inexperienced bearers.
  • Please visit the site beforehand to assess conditions and to discuss your plans and any special requirements with our staff.

*Criminal Damages Act, 1971, Article 1, Section 1

A person who, without lawful excuse, destroys or damages any property belonging to another, intending to destroy or damage any such property, or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged, shall be guilty of an offence.