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Family-run Leicestershire farm receives planning permission for natural burial ground

Family-run Leicestershire farm receives planning permission for natural burial ground

A family-run Leicestershire farm has received approval to transform one of its fields into a natural burial ground, providing a peaceful environment for remembrance at a site filled with wildflowers and views of the countryside.


Castle View Farm, in Bottesford, has received planning permission to create a natural burial ground on land to the east of Normanton Lane.

The burial ground will include a wildflower meadow and provide a sustainable alternative to conventional burial and cremation options, without the formality and memorials of traditional cemeteries.

Individual graves will not have traditional headstones but will be marked by discrete wooden plaques or carvings within the wildflower meadow.

The 136-hectare farm is run by husband and wife James and Clair Goodson, with support from their two children Emily and George.

It features a number of diversification streams including livery stables, a fishing lake, the letting of buildings, solar PV and also has been part of a stewardship scheme for two decades.

The natural burial ground was the brainchild of daughter Emily, who is studying Business and Environment at the University of Leeds, who came up with the idea as a way to make use of the site while both maintaining the landscape of the area and enhancing its biodiversity.

James, who works for property consultancy Fisher German, then enlisted the firm’s planning team to bring the idea to life.

Emily, aged 21, said:

“We looked at a number of different diversification options for the site but wanted something which wouldn’t impact on the landscape.

“It’s at the top of a hill with beautiful views of the Vale of Belvoir so we were keen to ensure the natural features were not just maintained, but enhanced, which is when I suggested a natural burial ground.

“In terms of infrastructure, it will include a grid reinforced car park which will have grass growing through it to be sensitive to the surroundings, fencing, hedgerows and trees and the rest of the site will be transformed into a wildflower meadow.

“It’s one of the more unusual methods of diversification, but provides significant benefits to both the local community who will be provided with an alternative to conventional burial and cremation options as well as the ecology of the area.

“It will also open up what is currently a private arable field so that members of the community can appreciate views that they won’t have seen before due to them being constrained to the public footpaths or permissive access we allow.”

Wildflower planting, landscaping and fencing is expected to take place later this year and the site officially opening in 2022.

Once open, the site will be able to accommodate up to 100 burials per year.

James added:

“People are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, and natural burial sites provide a sustainable alternative to the more conventional options available.

“The site will provide people of all faiths with a place that they can reflect and celebrate life, surrounded by stunning countryside views.

“We are extremely proud to see Emily’s idea come to fruition. It’s excellent when young people in farming families have ideas like this that they are able to take forward.

“Our son George is studying an agricultural degree at Harper Adams University and also has some ideas for the farm which we will also be looking into.”

Scott O’Dell, of Fisher German, worked with the family to lead the planning application process.

He said:

“We are extremely pleased to achieve planning permission for the site, even during these current challenging times.

“It will be an extremely positive facility for the area which is sensitive to the landscape and we look forward to seeing work on the site progress.”

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