- A Guide to Funerals and Funeral Directors
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Burial on private land

Most burials take place in churchyards or municipal cemeteries, on ground which has been designated for that purpose. However, these are by no means the only places where loved ones can be buried. If you would prefer a more personal touch they can even be laid to rest in your own back garden, or on any other piece of land where you have the owner’s permission.

There are surprisingly few regulations governing where someone can be buried. As long as you have the owner’s permission there are very few administrative hurdles to jump over, although your local council will usually provide guidance for any regulations they expect you to observe. Salford City Council offers a fairly comprehensive set of advice here.

If you do want to bury someone on private land then most of the considerations are fairly obvious, such as ensuring they reach the specified depth and you avoid nearby water sources.

Something to bear in mind is that the council will often insist the grave is over 1 metre deep, and you may want to go all the way down to the traditional 6 feet. This will require a significant amount of digging, so you may wish to employ a professional gravedigger to do the job for you.

While a grave shouldn’t require planning permission, your biggest administrative responsibility is to register a burial with the Coroner or Registrar, and have its position recorded on the deeds of property along with the deceased’s age, name, date and place of death (this is to prevent alarm if the body is discovered by someone in the future).

The one considerable drawback to conducting a burial on your own land is the impact on its value, as future owners may be deterred from purchasing it once they learn someone has been buried there. Once a burial has been registered, someone would need permission from the Home Office to exhume them, the same as if they were buried in a churchyard, so they will be difficult for you to move to a different location if you try to sell the land.

The owner of the land is entitled to engage a solicitor to place a restrictive covenant on the land which would make it illegal for the body to ever be removed, but this would probably reduce its value even further.

The freedom to be buried where you choose isn’t limited to back gardens; fields, private woods and any other type of land you might own are equally acceptable choices. Overall, this can be a wonderfully personal way to lay someone to rest in the environment they considered home, but you do have to be wary of the consequences.

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