The Most Beautiful Place To Rest, At Clayton Wood
by Ruth Lawrence
Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground is celebrating their 10th anniversary. Ruth Lawrence found out more about this special place.
Whilst it may seem a little unusual to host an open day at a burial ground, Clayton Wood want to demystify and dispel any myths about natural burial and give visitors the opportunity to ask questions, talk to the team and fulfil their curiosity. They hope that the informal open day is an opportunity for the local community to come along and celebrate the 10 year birthday, to view the beautiful grounds, find out more about natural burial and meet the Clayton Wood team. The open day on Saturday 9th June from 10am-2pm, will give visitors an interesting and reassuring insight into natural burial.
Colleagues from The Bereavement Centre, which offers free bereavement counselling and hosts support and friendship groups, will also be available on the day to meet informally over coffee and cake. Visitors can also learn about the wildlife and conversation work at the grounds with walk and talk tours hosted by the Wildlife Trust.
On the day there will also be floristry demonstrations and advice on native plants that can be planted at the site, examples of biodegradable coffins and natural memorial options from local suppliers.
When I recently visited Clayton Wood, immediately on entering the grounds I noticed a tangible tranquillity, the spectacular uninterrupted views of the South Downs and famous landmarks, the Jack and Jill windmills, perched in the distance. Spring and summer transform the areas into beautiful wooded gardens where people can sit and have a picnic with their loved ones and their precious memories. Mown paths wind through glades and meadows punctuated by around 800 native species trees which are already home to birds and wildlife.
There is a supportive community springing up alongside the trees; every last Thursday of the month, Clayton Wood hosts a bereavement coffee morning from 10-12 noon where people can visit a member of the team and socialise together in an informal setting.
People who choose Clayton Wood as a resting place for their loved ones have a wonderful experience to remember; one lady commented how, “I was overwhelmed by the sensitivity and kindness shown to me… having to cope on my own, they literally ‘held my hand’ throughout.” This sense of being included as part of the community is palpable here; Clayton Wood support Winston’s Wish, a charity for bereaved children and create events to raise money for this valuable cause.
Whether dealing with a present bereavement or planning for a future resting place, this extra special burial ground is one of a kind, bursting with life in leaf and birdsong with a view to cherish forever.
CLAYTON WOOD NATURAL BURIAL GROUND
Address: Brighton Road, Clayton, West Sussex, BN6 9PD
Telephone: 01273 843842
Photography: Jason Allen Photography