Private and natural burials

Although most burials take place in purpose-built cemeteries or churchyards, there is no law against burial on private land. Natural burial grounds seek to ensure that the burial site remains as natural as possible. The Natural Death Centre is a charity which supports a less formal routine for funerals and provides information and advice on private burial grounds and natural burial grounds. In Herefordshire, there is a natural burial ground at the Humber Woodland of Remembrance and Offa's Orchard, Gladestry.

It is important to ensure the burial will not pollute any watercourses. Future pollution could lead to prosecution by the Environment Agency. You can discuss this with the Environment Agency on 01562 60631.

The council has agreed that up to six burials on a site are accepted without needing planning permission, although this has not been set in law. Exceeding this number may mean you require planning approval for use as a cemetery or for mixed use if farming is also to continue. You may also need to apply for planning permission if you intend to:

  • Erect buildings, monuments or mausoleums, depending on the scale and location
  • Create an access road, put up a fence or mark the grave(s) with a memorial

For further advice, contact planning services at