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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Bookings soar for 'green' burials
The farm at Abermule
Green burials cost from 350 at the farm near Newtown
Mid Wales' first private 'green' burial site is proving a big hit with those seeking alternative funerals.

In the six months since Green Lane Burial Field opened, 18 people have made advance bookings for graves and another four have been buried.

Owners Ifor and Eira Humphreys were expecting just eight to sign up in the first year.

A hay meadow at the Humphreys' farm in Abermule, near Newtown, has been transformed into a final resting place.

Bodies are buried in shrouds or wooden or cardboard coffins, while bulbs or live flowers mark graves rather than headstones.

The couple have run Upper Bryntalch Farm for more than 20 years, but decided to open the field for burials in April to bring in extra income - as well as offering a green option for funerals.

The bookings and funerals have far exceeded our expectations
Eira Humphreys, Green Lane Burial Field

"In the six months since we've opened, there have been two burials and two cremations where ashes have been scattered and buried," said Mrs Humphreys.

"Another 18 people have made advance bookings and we've had other inquiries from people throughout Wales and England.

"The bookings and funerals have far exceeded our expectations. In the first year we were only expecting a total of about eight advance bookings and burials."

She added: "People seem very interested in the thought of green burials and we're so pleased it has taken off so well.

"There was nothing to say it was going to capture the imagination and it's fair to say we were expecting the first year to be quiet.

"But to get so many advance booking for plots in very pleasing."

Eira and Ifor Humphreys with daughter Martha
The Humphreys say they plan to be buried themselves at the farm

Three quarters of an acre of meadow has been set aside for the burial site, but headstones will only be allowed in a memorial area.

The couple are also donating 20 to Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust for every burial.

When the site opened in April, two burials had already taken place and five people had pre-booked plots.

Among those who have booked in advance for a grave is a woman in her forties from London, whose will states that she wants to be buried at Green Lane back in her native mid Wales.

There are currently three green burial sites in Wales run by local authorities - two at St Asaph and one in Cardiff.

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