Natural burial ground opens up at North End

Old Park Meadow Burial Ground. Picture: OLD PARK MEADOW

Old Park Meadow Burial Ground. Picture: OLD PARK MEADOW

Archant

A new burial ground has been opened up in North End offering an environmental funeral service for residents of Essex.

The lodge at the Old Park Meadow Burial Ground. Picture: OLD PARK MEADOWThe lodge at the Old Park Meadow Burial Ground. Picture: OLD PARK MEADOW

Old Park Meadow, a natural burial ground, was opened up at the end of last month.

On top of a grassy hillside, the newly-built lodge overlooks 34 acres of former farmland which is now reserved for burials and ash interments.

It is part of a project which aims to provide a lasting environmental legacy, which was a joint venture with Strutt & Parker Farms.

The site is environmentally-friendly not only as it contributes to the local eco-system, but because, concrete, steel and embalming fluid are not deposited underground each year as part of burials.

Sitting on the border with Chelmsford borough, the city council is affiliated to the site – the first council affiliated natural burial site in the region.

Delyse Jackaman, venue manager, said: “It has been designed to hold funerals and wakes for people of any faith, or none, meaning guests from all backgrounds were due at the opening afternoon to see what was on offer.

“Josefine Speyer gave a fascinating talk on the importance of environmental burial and having freedom of choice when it comes to planning for death. As a founder member of the Natural Death Centre, Ms Speyer has made it her life’s work to the spread the word that death does not have to be overly formal and many new burial grounds, including Old Park Meadow, can provide the perfect open venue for a bright, positive and environmentally-conscious funeral.

“Much work has been done with the Essex Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and the Woodland Trust to ensure the site contributes successfully to the local ecosystem and the nature reserve being created here is open seven days a week, so anyone can come and have a look around whenever it suits them.”

Councillors, conservationists and religious leaders attended the official opening of the site.

The lodge building itself is a clad in golden larch wood, with large glass folding doors.

For more information about Old Park Meadow Natural Burial Ground, call 01245 806332, email info@oldparkmeadow.co.uk or visit www.oldparkmeadow.co.uk

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