Visiting a Grave
After a Funeral
At Sun Rising, we believe in letting nature take its course, gently. Graves are not returfed or rolled, but settle in their own time, topped up when needed, and seeded in the autumn or spring. In the meadow areas, wildflower seed is sown; in the woodland areas, where the tree canopy will bring shade, the seed is of wild grasses. It may take a while for a grave to settle and green over, for which we ask you patience.
Finding a Grave
At a natural burial ground, some graves have no markers. Where a family has decided upon small tree plaque for the grave, it may take them a few months to order it, and another few for the grave to settle sufficiently for us to install it. As a result a grave may remain unmarked for some time. Families my believe they know just which their loved one's grave is, but nature changes - grass grows or is mown, trees are in leaf or bare; even the colours of the wide open skies can confuse us. If you would like help locating a grave, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We can direct you over the phone, or meet you onsite. We are here to help at this difficult time.
Alternatively, if you have a grave number (which can be found on the Interment Certificate), it may be possible to find the grave yourself. Each memorial post has a number tag nailed onto the north facing slop of its top, and each grave is marked by the number of plots north, south, east or west from that post. Posts are not in a very logical order, so you may need a rough idea of where you're looking to begin with.
Gifts and Cut Flowers Left on Graves
At Sun Rising we are happy for families and friends to leave flowers on graves, particularly in the first few weeks following a funeral. When they start to wilt and look tatty, flowers are composted and florists' materials recycled wherever possible. We ask families, please, not to leave cut flowers in celophane, paper or pots. Ideally flowers should be tied together with raffia or string, not elastic bands.
In accordance with our Cemetery Regulations, no ornaments, spinners, vases or plaques are permitted at Sun Rising, other than the slate plaques supplied by us. We remove anything that is placed on graves and it is kept in the office for a short period; please get in touch if you would like an ornament returned to you. Our aim is to keep the burial ground looking natural and tidy, unlike a cemetery.
Anything planted in or near the grave will be removed as if it were cut flowers, unless it is a species native to the area - in which case we will either leave it or replant it so that it can thrive in the long term.
We encourage families not to tend individual graves. If one grave is carefully managed as if it were in a conventional cemetery, and the one beside it is left to be part of the nature reserve, the site quickly looks unkempt. Furthermore, as we encourage the growth of wildflowers and grasses, to flowering and seeding, any disturbance of the graves hinders the development of the nature reserve.
New graves are kept tidy by us, with the surrounding area mown in the summer. In the meadow, the grasses and flowers are allowed to grow around graves fairly soon, but paths are not mown around or through meadow graves. In the woodland areas paths are mown between graves for the first few years, after which we allow nature to step in more fully. The grasses and flowers are cut back once a year, between June and October, with a few areas left long a little longer to extend their use as habitats and hiding places.
If you would like to plant bulbs or flowers on a grave, please refer to our page: Planting on a Grave.
If you are worried about the look of your loved one's grave, please get in touch.