Gunton woodland burial park is an ‘incredibly worthwhile project’ says volunteer

Gunton Woodland Burial Park. Woodland Burial Trust members Dr Michael Field OBE , Anita Graves and H

Gunton Woodland Burial Park. Woodland Burial Trust members Dr Michael Field OBE , Anita Graves and Harry Hill (Chair of Trustees) - Credit: Nick Butcher

The new Gunton woodland burial park has officially opened to the public.

Gunton Woodland Burial Park has officially opened to the public. Pictures: Nick Butcher.

Gunton Woodland Burial Park has officially opened to the public. Pictures: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The six-year initiative was led by members of the parochial church council at Gunton St Peter's Church and Gunton Woodland Community Project, under the collective banner of Gunton Woodland Burial Trust.

After four years of preparatory work, the necessary planning approvals were finally obtained for the first phase of the scheme.

After a number of community tree planting events - and with important factors including conceptual design, soil investigation and archaeological surveys all completed - the site is now open to the public.

The first interment of ashes is scheduled to take place today (Friday, January 8), with the burial park linked by footpaths which will be open to the public, including dog walkers.

Harry Hill, chairman of the non-profit making charity, said: 'Before we began we were advised that about 80 per cent of people wanted to be cremated with the remaining 20 per cent wanting burial.

'Since we launched, we have found it is more like 50-50.

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'We have been taken by surprise but it shows how much a woodland burial park was needed locally.'

The park has been planted with more than 6,600 native broadleaved trees and shrubs, funded by the Forestry Commission under their English Woodland Grant Scheme.

Barry Shimmield, 83, is on the advisory group for the Gunton Woodland Burial Trust and lives directly opposite the site.

'About six years ago now, the churchyard at Gunton St Peter's was completely full and there was nowhere for the parishioners to be buried,' he said.

'The council had their eyes on the field and planned to convert it into rugby pitches.

'But it didn't come to anything and the decision was made to convert it to a burial ground.

'It has been an incredibly worthwhile project – 12 months of hard work - but we can look upon it as a successful idea.'

People can choose single burial spots in glades for £650 and £1,300 for couples or friends side by side. Burial of ashes, for one to two space plots, costs £300. To enquire about reservations, call 07419 324078 or email info@gwbp.co.uk

For more information, visit www.guntonwoodlandburial.co.uk

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