A natural burial ground in Tysoe has been given a prestigious award that recognises the best parks and green spaces in the country.
Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve has been awarded the Green Flag for its landscape conservation and environmental sustainability. It is the first natural burial ground to receive such an accolade and is the second in the country.
Emma Restall Orr, Sun Rising manager, said: “We are enormously proud to have received a Green Flag. It is not something that you would normally associate with a natural burial ground but it is affirmation that we are creating a wonderful, welcoming, natural and peaceful environment.
“We want people to enjoy the surroundings, to take strengthfrom its natural beauty and to create an ecologically-rich and protected environment for native trees, plants and wildlife.”
The Green Flag judging process involved measuring the site for its cleanliness, safety, sustainability, heritage conservation and quality of management. It is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the country and was first launched in 1996.
In its award assessment report for Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground, Green Flag said: “Active, knowledgable and caring management was evident for both funeral provision and nature conservation. The directors provided a fascinating insight into this unqiue business model.
Set on the edge of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sun Rising offers woodland and meadows burials in beautiful and peaceful surroundings. They reached a milestone of 500 burials since it opened in 2006.
Mrs Restall Orr said: “The Green Flag award establishes us as a public space which welcomes the public in and lets them explore. It is the sort of place that you do not think it is welcome but we also have a nature reserve which we are trying to encourage more people to come and visit.
“It is a wonderful landmark to reach 500 burials. Many people who visit us do not actually believe us when we say it! It’s a lovely area to visit and reflect on what is going on in our busy and chaotic lives.
“We want to encourage people to come and visit even if they do not have loved ones buried here. They can just come and sit here and watch the hares, butterflies and birds in the meadows, it is a really amazing place.”