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Woodland burials


A woodland cemetery provides a beautiful, peaceful and natural setting for a burial. Our site just outside Durham City - The Durham Woodland Cemetery - offers an environmentally friendly funeral. Woodland burials must have a biodegradable coffin.

The site contains a range of habitats including mature trees, woodland edge and open glades. It has a mixture of grasses and herbaceous species that would typically be found in wild flower meadows in County Durham. It's located close to Durham Crematorium - DH1 3TQ.

What do we offer?

  • a woodland cemetery burial in an area which creates new habitat for wildlife
  • burial in a biodegradable coffin made from materials which break down naturally and easily such as wool, cardboard or English willow 
  • wild flower seeds are sown within the woodland edge and the grave as part of each funeral
  • a small plaque, flush with the ground, and a microchip to aid with plot identification
  • we limit the amount of benches allowed on site to maintain the natural feel of the area
  • the Lodge which provides a place for gathering and ceremonies during a funeral and can be used for both religious and non-religious ceremonies. It is owned and managed by The Friends of Durham Woodland Cemetery.

Funeral ceremonies are conducted within the glades. A woodland burial and biodegradable coffin can be arranged by your chosen funeral director.

How much does it cost?

It is the same price for a woodland burial interment as it is at a standard cemetery. This will be personal to each funeral.

How to get to the site

The site is next to Durham Crematorium, near Durham City. Enter through the large gates at the front of the crematorium on South Road, Durham. Keep left and follow the road down to the woodland cemetery at the bottom of the site. Parking is available.

Disabled access to The Lodge and disabled toilet facilities are available.

The Woodland is open dawn to dusk.

The Friends of The Durham Woodland Cemetery

A friends group has been formed to work closely alongside us to manage the conservation of the woodland ensuring a long term sustainable future and to provided added facilities in the Lodge. Anyone with an interest in the Woodland can become a 'Friend'. If you need to contact the Friends, they are available on 0191 909 7484 or help@durhamwoodlandcemetery.org.

Site rules

In order to ensure that the ground is maintained as a woodland burial ground, in keeping with our aims, it is necessary to enforce certain rules and regulations as follows: 

  • The planting of trees and other plants is restricted. No gardening of the woodland is permitted.
  • Flowers and wreaths may be placed on the grave on the day of the funeral. They may be removed by cemetery staff two weeks after the funeral or earlier if they start to decay. Artificial flowers are not permitted.
  • The form of a lodge service or graveside ceremony must be dignified but not necessarily explicitly religious.
  • The coffin or casket must be made of biodegradable material, either wood, cardboard, willow, banana leaf, wool or other suitable material. As far as possible, preservatives should not be used.
  • The grave can be marked by a wooden plaque. There will be no long term visible markers or headstones but all graves will be discreetly recorded by us so that their location can be determined exactly. Please contact the Friends of the Woodland Cemetery if you wish to purchase a plaque.
  • No exhumations will be permitted under any circumstances except by lawful authority.
  • Durham County Council is the legal owner of the whole woodland.
  • Each request for a refund is judged individually and is entirely at the discretion of Durham County Council. Durham County Council reserves the right to vary the Rules and Regulations at any time.
Contact us
Bereavement Services
03000 265 609
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ