Wolverhampton natural burial ground opens
A tree planting ceremony and white dove release marked the official opening of a new natural burial ground.
The Natural Burial Company has opened its Wrottesley Park site on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, and will see around 100 burials a year.
Plans for the site, in Wergs Road, Perton, were approved by South Staffordshire District Council two-and-a-half years ago.
People can be laid to rest in a cardboard coffin or have a holly bush instead of a headstone. Graves will have wooden posts with a small plaque that naturally wear away over the years.
Saturday's launch was attended by representatives from 20 funeral homes and dignitaries including South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson and councillors for the areas.
Mr Williamson said: "It was absolutely amazing to see what they had done.
"Originally the whole area had been part of the estate's parkland and to be able to see how they planted all the wildflowers and seeing the pictures of how they expect it to be, it's going to be a beautiful, peaceful place to come to pay respects to loved ones.
"It was so fascinating to see it all and how they are trying to work with a natural habitat, with bat and bird boxes to encourage wildlife in the area.
"For so long people who have lived in Perton haven't had anywhere to be buried or have their ashes buried and I think it is very important to have something like that and having had a look around it I think you can really see how it is very much more appealing than a normal cemetery which is more formal.
"It is such a peaceful spot and I think it will be proven to be extremely popular."
Other memorials families can choose from include an oak tree or bird or bat box.
Measuring almost eight acres, it has around £2,000 burial spaces. There will be around 100 burials a year at the site, with a single plot costing £850 and a double £1,700.
The site cost more than £30,000 to set up, the majority of which was spent on clearing a vast area of scrub woodland known as Corser's Rough, which was formerly a temporary Second World War military base that was demolished in the 1960s.
The site is a partnership between land owner Lord Clifton Wrottesley and the Natural Burial Company, who approached him about the site in 2011.
Lord Wrottesley said he was pleased with the 'positive comments' he received during the open day.
"I can only hope that the local community receive it well because everything that I have seen so far would suggest that it will."
People can find out more at www.thenaturalburialcompany.co.uk
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