It doesn’t take much persuading to get me to visit a graveyard, so when I saw that a natural burial ground in Dorset was having an open weekend, the date was soon on my calendar!
My visit to Higher Ground Meadow was memorable, enjoyable and thought provoking. I had met the owner Joanna Vassie at the Good Funeral Awards in 2016, so was aware of her accolade for the best natural burial ground.
Following that meeting we have become connected by social media, and I have been following the progress of the construction of a round barrow at the burial ground. It was good to be able to visit and see how this was coming along.
A round barrow is a circular chamber that is used for storing human remains as part of burial ritual. Historically they are built of stone and covered with a mound, so are only visible as a small hill on the landscape. This exciting project has been beautifully designed and is being constructed using traditional building methods. Joanna explained to me, that when the barrow is completed it will offer a permanent resting place for cremated remains, stored in locally made urns.
To see this beautiful chamber being built in the Dorset countryside, filled me with optimism. Celebrating past lives in this sensitive manner, is respectful and dignified.
The open day gave me the opportunity to visit the beautiful meadow burial space, which appears as natural and as unspoilt as the surrounding countryside. The plants and flowers that grow there, are wild and attract butterflies and insects. The ground has different areas, that are separated by boundary hedges and mowed pathways to provide access.
Joanna has created a space that allows for funeral rituals, that are not defined by faith, but by nature. The Higher Ground Barn allows families to conduct services of remembrance in a manner that is appropriate to them in a peaceful tranquil environment.