Garden burials

There is nothing in burial law to stop the owners of private land from burying cremated or non-cremated remains on their own land eg in gardens, fields.

Depending on the circumstances, planning permission may be needed and there may be public health implications.

Some of the practical considerations are the size of the garden and the proximity of the grave to houses, whether the family may wish to move the body after the property is sold, the likelihood of anyone wanting to visit the grave in the future and whether purchasers would want to buy a house with a body buried in the garden etc.

Anyone contemplating such a burial should contact us and think about the long term implications, for example an exhumation licence will be needed if the remains need to be removed.

A record of any burial on private land should be kept, preferably with the deeds of the property. The presence of the remains should also be declared when the property is sold.

  • A copy of the death certificate to confirm the identity of the deceased and that the death has been properly registered.
  • A plan of the house and garden marked with the location of the grave.
  • Confirmation the Environment Agency has been consulted and has no objection re possible groundwater contamination.

It is an offence to disturb human remains (including cremated remains) without getting permission and a Licence to Exhume issued by the Ministry of Justice at the following address Coroners and Burials Division, 102 Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ. Tel: 020 3334 6390.