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Ribble Valley Borough Council

Clitheroe Cemetery

Woodland Burial

In 1995 a small area of the Clitheroe Cemetery was used to create one of the first woodland burial sites in Lancashire.  The site was extended in August 2000. The woodland graves are located on the north west perimeter of Waddington Road Cemetery, adjacent to the existing private woodland of Boy Bank Wood, overlooking the River Ribble and within sight of the imposing Pendle Hill.

The woodland grave concept offers a form of burial, which is natural and provides an environment for nature conservation. It encourages wildlife within a natural habitat that produces a true sense of creating "life from death". 

As access to individual graves is made the woodland forms a natural environment. A true feeling of harmony with nature is created and therefore the bereaved feel a more tangible link with their loved ones.  A living tree is planted on their behalf. For example, an oak tree growing as a living memorial may well continue to do so for at least 250 years. A truly lasting natural memorial.

Woodland burials especially appeal to those people who do not have any particular religious beliefs and who may wish to become part of a continuing natural growing process after their death. 

The Council's countryside management policies adopt the principle of wherever possible, increasing the amount of broadleaved tree cover to enhance the landscape and create new habitats for flora and fauna.

The woodland burial concept is an important part of those policies. Actions are taken by the Council to protect, enhance and manage the landscape for nature conservation, whilst at the same time offering a realistic and sensible alternative burial option.  

The purposes of our woodland burial area are:

  • To enhance wildlife and its habitat in burial grounds through conservation management
  • To create an atmosphere of benefit to grieving visitors
  • To encourage educational use of the cemetery
  • To aid the understanding of our natural and cultural heritage, and
  • To enhance the amenity value of the cemetery.

Native tree species, oak, rowan, birch and alder have been planted over the last few years. These support and have become a haven for wildlife. In addition a large number of wild flowers seeds have been sown over the used grave spaces. This has created an area of natural landscaping which gives an appearance of a slowly maturing woodland area.

As the woodland matures the maintenance level is reduced. Older trees live most of their lives without any need for maintenance. Dead branches rarely harm the heartwood and provide a "home" for many insects and funghi.