“Almost half of England’s cemeteries could run out of space within the next 20 years, a BBC survey suggests”


With rapid urbanization, the rise in population, climate change and environmental concerns we now face it has never been so important to address issues concerning how we best utilize and manage land. Traditional burial methods in the western world are no longer viable or sustainable therefore new burial approaches must be adopted. West Malling is a village located in the south of the UK in Kent. Within the next two years local parishes will run out of space to bury their dead.

The project aims to provide a new way of envisioning the potential of a cemetery through the use of an ecologically sound and innovative landscape design and management plan. Natural burial is a non-polluting approach that negates the negative impacts above and below ground. The site currently consists of trees and fields. There will be three main changes made to the land; the implementation of a natural burial ground, a place to scatter ashes in a woodland and a wildflower meadow.


Appledene Natural Burial Cemetery Master Plan



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Currently the flat site is disused (having previously been the site of an apple orchard). The brambles that cover the site will be replaced by wildflower meadows, glades, groves, ornamental planting, hedgerows and deciduous woodland.

Appledene Natural Burial Cemetery will give expression to the cyclical nature of life and death. The vegetation will change and escape the parameters originally defined. The ground will continue to shift and change, and the bodies of the deceased will return to the earth, providing fertilization for new vegetation growth at the site. Most importantly, a natural burial site will provide a spiritual atmosphere to the area, rendering it amenable to mourners and passers-by alike.

The master plan for Appledene incorporates naturalistic design, in keeping with the vision of the space as a place of serene remembrance and natural beauty. A key feature of the site is the low level of maintenance required to realise the vision, as set out in the management plan.


Key – Planting Areas

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