Woodland and green burials

Due to Coronavirus, there are changes to some of our services, including the conducting of marriages, ceremonies and burials / cremations and the registration services for births and deaths. All of our offices are currently closed to the public without an appointment. You can arrange a registration appointment here.

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The area is non-denominational and no part will be reserved for a particular religion. It is the choice of individuals regarding the type of service, if any. Four sites are applicable for woodland burials:

  • Helensburgh - Barbour Cemetery 5
  • B&C – Strachur
  • OLI - Pennyfuir Cemetery

Each site will be developed within the grounds of the existing cemetery using parts of the cemetery that naturally lend themselves for future woodland planting.

Coffins

Only biodegradable coffins for burial will be permitted. These are materials such as wicker, bamboo, wood (as long as it is not varnished and has been taken from a renewable source), cardboard and so on. Bodies that are buried in the woodland must not have been embalmed (except if repatriated), and must be wearing all natural fibres i.e. wool or cotton. Funeral organisers and other coffin suppliers will be able to provide these upon request.

The Graves

The law in Scotland allows burial authorities to sell the ‘Right of Burial in a Lair’. This means the actual ground continues to belong to Argyll and Bute Council, but the ‘lair holder’ (the named person on the records) has the right to bury one person in a defined woodland burial grave. In accordance with the law a record of the grave will be made on a plan, and in a register and each grave will be numbered. A microchip will be placed at the head of each grave to make it easy to identify in the future. Each grave will be used for one burial only (or to bury one set of ashes).

Plots for cremated remains (ashes)

A special area for burying cremated remains within the semi-mature woodland will be provided, ensuring no damage to the root zone of trees. Maintenance and replacement of mature trees will be part of an overall long term management plan designed for the area.

Memorials and floral tributes

Funeral flowers may be placed on the grave but these must not include any oasis florist foam, plastic wrappings or other non-degradable material of any sort. They will be removed from the grave site two weeks after the funeral.
Please Note: Floral tributes cannot be placed on graves after two weeks from the date of the funeral. We have the right to remove any item which has been placed on or near a grave without notice. Please carefully consider the restrictions on the woodland section before you decide whether to go ahead with this burial option. The above rules will be strictly applied in order to maintain the woodland setting.

For further guidance please see our policy on woodland burials.