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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Natural burials at green cemetery
Usk natural burial site
There is enough room for 2,500 burials at the site
The first private cemetery offering an environmentally friendly style of burial in south Wales has opened.

The site is in the grounds of Usk Castle in Monmouthshire and can hold 2,500 graves.

But none of the graves will be marked formally with headstones and the coffins must be made of biodegradable material.

Native Woodlands were granted planning permission for the burial ground after working with the castle's owners.

James Leedam, the director of Native Woodlands said that the site was "somewhere completely natural and simple for burial."

"It will be free from artificial paths and headstones - just simply a beautiful place," he added.

Usk Castle
The site is in the grounds of the Norman castle

Mr Leedam, who is working closely with the owner of the 12th Century Usk Castle, Rosie Humphreys, said that there was a growing demand for such burial sites.

"It is quite simply a burial using completley bio-degradable materials, such as wicker coffins, in a place where the environment is natural and won't be changed," he said.

"The graves are not marked, although they are recorded very carefully, and it is a beautiful place for people to come to."

Burials at the site cost around 1,000.

Mr Leedam said that following the death of his aunt and the difficulty he had in arranging a natural burial for her, he became aware of a need for such a facility.

Through mutual friends, he heard that Mrs Humphreys was interested in using her land as a natural burial site and between them, they submitted a planning application to Monmouthshire Council which was approved earlier this week.

"It has been a long process but we have finally been granted permission," said Mr Leedam.

"We still have some work to do on access to the site but that will take place during August."

Two funerals have been held at the site so far.

Bookings begin for 'green' burials
14 Apr 04 |  Mid Wales


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