After Eco Living - Woodland Burial Company

Today we have a very special post that is a bit different from anything we have delved into before here on The ecoLogical.  The lovely Claire from The Frugal Family is here to share another take on green 'living' with a personal story about tragedy, grief, and what she calls eco-dying.

Death is never easy to accept or cope with, but knowing the options beforehand can remove some of the stresses when it comes time to think about burials.  And Claire is offering advice as well as her experience with Woodland Burial Company to help ease that burden and spread awareness of what a more sustainable service looks like.

Eco Living – Is that the whole story?

Running The Frugal Family, sharing the foray into sustainable living for ‘normal’ people, I was deeply proud of the changes we had been (and still are) making. I did research and spent time considering our impact as a family; the ways in which we could make small changes to our daily lives, that would have a more sustainable focus.

We got up to all sorts! With a young family and a dog, as well as a ‘proper’ job it’s a constant juggling act. However, we have made real in-roads. We are now a virgin-paper free house, we have moved to green utilities, banking and pensions where possible. Our carbon footprint has been reduced and in 2018 our Earth overshoot was gone… wow!

But then in 2019 our family had a very different problem to face. Our ten year old son died in a very tragic accident at home and our world shifted beyond measure. We had been so focused on eco living, we were now faced with decisions about eco dying – and not at time when our brains were processing information easily or quickly.

Luckily, as part of research for my blog, I was aware of an eco burial service and had met its founder Simon. We had been saving up for a family nook, but now we needed things put in place decades before we had planned.

Woodland Burial Company is a really small team, it makes it a truly personal service and nothing is too much trouble. We could do almost anything we wanted, within the bounds of the Wildlife Management Plan, and our finances. We are now the proud owners of a Family Nook, which we all have the option of using when our times come (even the dog is allowed).

Making the area our own has included adding a bench and several bird boxes and feeders. Over the last year and a half we have used special occasions to have a collection and add other Woodland Legacies, like a log pile. All of this makes the nook interesting and educational for our other children, and we visit often, always with hot chocolate and cake. I can’t imagine we would ever have taken three young children to a traditional burial ground every weekend.

The changing of the seasons has brought new plants, animals and leaves for us to learn about and we now have a rain cover to put up too. It is a lifetime of visits but each time is subtly different thanks to the wonder of nature all around us. Granville’s Wood sits inside the larger 100+ acres of Walton Wood in Chesterfield. This means we can always find a new walk and make new discoveries.

This isn’t easy stuff to talk about, or even think about. But if you’ve taken so much time and energy to live an eco life, you really should follow through and think about an eco death. Cremated ashes or traditional burials have a negative impact on the earth. There are ways to reduce this and your choices (and letting people know about them) are really important.

This Summer, for a variety of reasons Simon and I were talking about each of our work pressures and dreams, it came to light that for Woodland Burial Co. to really grow and thrive, a project manager was needed. I jumped at the chance to help a place I love, using skills and passion developed over the last twenty years in both mental wellbeing and sustainable living.

So, now I get to look after my beautiful boy as part of a paid job. Life is strange and even though there are tears falling as I write this, that doesn’t stop me. Death is a difficult topic – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tackle it. I talk about it quite a lot, I have for many years at work, and now life has given me even more personal experiences to weave in too.

Woodland Burial Company strives to be an ethical and sustainable company, paying staff a living wage, using environmentally friendly products, reducing our carbon footprint (quite easy when you own a woodland!) and I’m especially proud that we were recently awarded the maximum five stars from Support the Goals. This proves how our work is aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

We also have a Sister company – allowing people who can’t use our physical location but still wish to consider their environmental impact. Living Memorial products allow for home interment of ashes using our ‘magic soil’ for humans and pets. Feel free to take a look.

Woodland Burial Company

0115 939 9090


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