Green funerals growing in popularity

An increasing number of people are considering the environment during their everyday lives and, in death, there are opportunities to continue these sentiments with an eco-funeral or green funeral.

At Tester & Jones, we pride ourselves on being flexible and ready to respond to individual requests which honour a particular person. We have, for instance, arranged an increasing number of natural burials.

Natural burial – sometimes referred to as a ‘green burial’, ‘green funeral’ or ‘woodland burial’ - describes the burial of the deceased where the burial area creates a habitat for wildlife or preserves existing habitats, such as woodland, species rich meadows or orchards.

The first natural burial ground was opened in the UK in 1993 and now there are now more than 270 sites around the country. Around half of these are run by local authorities alongside their more traditional cemeteries, while others are privately-run by landowners.

Currently, the one our families usually opt for is Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground in Hassocks, West Sussex, which is set in 15 acres of countryside and within the South Downs National Park. Opened in 2008, it has various dedicated areas for full natural burials and cremated remains, surrounded by native trees.

However, there are currently plans underway to create a new cemetery for Crowborough and this is likely to also include an area set aside for natural burials which will not include headstones.

As part of the Tester & Jones’ green funeral service, you can choose from natural and biodegradable coffins or ashes caskets, made from materials such as wicker or sea grass.

We have noticed that Somerset Willow coffins, in particular, are growing in popularity. According to Somerset Willow England, willow coffins are a good choice for the environment and for those who seek to make their last footprint a green one.  Here are some reasons why: 

  1. Willow is highly renewable, growing from the same crown for up to 60 years
  2. Willow is extremely diverse, providing many natural engineering solutions
  3. Willow tends to biodegrade much more quickly than conventional coffin materials, such as MDF, hardwood and metal.
  4. Willow is a very labour intensive material and requires little mechanical and chemical processing
  5. Willow has a much higher water consumption than agricultural crops, in flood affected areas this can help to take pressure off the natural landscape.

At Tester & Jones, we can offer round-ended or traditional coffins in Somerset Willow. Colour variations are achieved naturally by drying, boiling or stripping bark and there are two choices of colour – buff willow or weatherbeaten gold, while coloured bands are also available.

Click here to read more about Somerset Willow coffins:

Posted: 4th of July 2017



We have a full range of memorial services including grave care, grave tending, headstone cleaning and floral tributes.. read more

01892 611811 (24 hour)

Tester & Jones
London Road
East Sussex