For many years people have made a simple choice upon death: burial in a wooden coffin in the parish churchyard, or cremation with burial of the ashes in a churchyard or crematorium.
Yet with the population growing inexorably, Britain is running out of burial space. This, and a growing interest in the eco-friendly disposal of bodies, have led to a more creative approach to disposing of our remains.
If you desire a religious service to mark your death you may wish to follow a format offered by your religion: for example, the Church of England has a useful guidance on their rituals and the choices you can make.
You have a right to a funeral service in your parish church whether or not you are a regular churchgoer, and if the churchyard is still open for burials you may be buried there if you lived or died in the parish, again whether or not you attended regularly.
Yet unless you feel a religious need to do so there is no need to be buried on consecrated ground. A number of Green Burial Sites have been established in Britain, where burial can take place in a natural and tranquil environment irrespective of your beliefs. These sites are protected from development, so gravestones are generally not permitted, but often a native tree or wild flowers can be planted in memory. See our Lists of Natural Burial Grounds or find more through the Natural Death charity through this link.
Burial on Private Land
There are few restrictions on burial on land that you own, for example on a farm or woodland, provided the number of bodies does not amount to a change of use of the land. You may need planning permission to erect a large memorial, and must stay clear of watercourses or boreholes, and burials should be at least three feet under. But provided you are happy the land will remain in your family, or the burial will not impede any future sale, it may be a convenient and appropriate option. The Natural Death Centre has helpful advice on this area.
There are other more unusual ways to bury your body, including burial at sea (there is a very helpful personal guide available here) and removal of the body to another country for burial. This can be a costly and complex process, so you may prefer to perform a cremation locally and arrange for the transport of ashes.