Trust History


Barton Glebe - The Burial Ground


The Lodge


Memorial Book


Tree Sponsorship


The Staff - How to Contact Us?


Where is the Burial Ground?


Fees and Grave Reservation Details


Rules of the Burial Ground


Ground Maintenance


Map of the Burial Ground




Leaflets, Newsletters and Forms











Barton Glebe - The Burial Ground


The Arbory Trust's woodland burial site is situated just west of Cambridge between the villages of Barton and Comberton on the B1046.

The site at Barton is the first of its kind. The land currently in use at Barton (South Glebe) totals about 19 acres, but a neighbouring piece of land (North Glebe) was acquired in 2009 and the site is now almost 40 acres in total. The new phase was planted in the winter of 2009/10, and was opened to the public for access in 2010.

Whilst Cambridgeshire is not renowned for its hills, the North Glebe does slope gently upwards so adding a new dimension to the landscape.

Other than the hard-standing car park area, access to the glades is via the grassy main ride and walks, and appropriate footwear should always be worn. Visitors’ cars are not permitted beyond the car park.

In the South Glebe, the area currently in use for burial, nearly 10,000 trees have been planted since 2000, all of them of species indigenous to the local area. They include oak, ash, lime, wild service, wild cherry, silver birch, holly and willow. All have been planted in a scheme designed by our Forestry Commission advisor. For a map of the burial ground, click here.
A further 10500 trees have now been planted in the North Glebe, again in a scheme designed by our Forestry Commission advisor to match the original design of the current area. This new planting includes more of the original species as above, as well as barberry, whitebeam, yew and alder trees, which are also indigenous to the area.

So how does it all work?

Burials at Barton take place in the glades surrounded by trees, the graves ultimately becoming part of that glade or meadow in time, with the surrounding trees creating a living memorial to those who lie there. This means that there are no headstones or statues, and nothing that will be left to fall into disrepair as time goes on. Trees are not planted with each grave, but it can be important for families to mark grave. Simple wooden markers, which may bear a simple inscription, may be placed flat on the ground (for details of permitted size, please see FAQ’s). Ultimately, these will biodegrade and disappear. Graves are all recorded so locations can be pinpointed. The exact position of a grave becomes less important as time passes, and families are content simply to return to Barton to remember loved ones in the natural surroundings.

Instead of planting trees, people are encouraged to sponsor existing trees. The money received is used in the maintenance of the grounds and development of the Trust, and can include appropriate pruning, thinning or replacing of trees as needed. For further details see the Tree Sponsorship page.

Wild flowers may also be planted, but must be native to the woodland. There is a leaflet available for guidance- see Leaflets, Newsletters and Forms.

The main ride and access tracks are mown several times a year. The glades themselves are mown completely only once, usually done as late in September as possible borne in mind when placing markers (which must be flush to For details on our maintenance programme, see the Ground Maintenance page.

Can I make a grave reservation for the future?

We are encouraged to see people thinking ahead, actively planning and making known their wish for a natural burial. Reservations can be made (either by a part or full payment - see Fees page for details) at any time, and more and more people are choosing to do this. A future reservation guarantees that there will be a grave space somewhere. The only exception to this is where an adjacent space is reserved for a spouse or partner when a loved one is buried. Once there is one burial, that adjacent reserved space is guaranteed. Double depth graves are permitted in certain glades. Click here for a Grave Reservation Form.

All burials at the Trust must be with biodegradable coffins, of which there are now a considerable number available. They range from willow and bamboo, cardboard and wool to the more traditional-looking wooden coffins, and even eco-pods. We do stress that coffins should be entirely bio-degradable - without brass handles or plaques. All funeral directors should have good knowledge of the options available (many now being commonly used), and a simple internet search will also yield a good return of information. Of course it is also possible to be buried in a simple shroud, although the use of a base board of appropriate material is encouraged for reasons of dignity.
Staff will be happy to talk through the various options with you at any time. For other details, see FAQ’s.

Registered Office : Bishop Woodford House, Barton Road, Ely, CB7 4DX. Telephone: 01223 303874 : Charity Number: 1079635