Our restoration project is part of our ‘why’. The creation of Granville’s Wood (which you can read about here) was firstly about moving away from traditional expectations of a funeral and a burial ground. Once the right woodland was found, it quickly became much more than that.
Granville’s Wood is a mono-culture. A plantation of pine trees, intended to become telegraph poles. There are a number of these commercial areas all over the UK, because a grant was offered for planting them. As the world went digital, the need for these trees evaporated and they were no longer commercially viable.
The problem with a mono-culture is that it doesn’t support a diversity of other life. Experience, and research, show us that this diversity is what nature needs to thrive. If nature thrives, then so do we!
By creating a more diverse habitat we can have a greater impact on soil, plants, wildlife and air quality. That is the basis of our Restoration programme.
Using the woodland as a burial ground is a perfect opportunity. It keeps the woodland as a quiet and reflective area, and the changes we are making are slow and steady. With the majority of our nooks, we fell a pine (sometimes more). This opens up the canopy, high above.
This extra light promotes growth in other trees that have been waiting patiently – like the oaks. Therefore, the diversity increases. Breaking the canopy also encourages more birds, and the additional sunlight allows a wider range of flowers and fungi to thrive.
As well as removing pine trees, we have also been adding new habitats. Several families have chosen to add habitat piles to their nook, offering a great mini-beast hotel. The extra insects and slugs attract even more birds. Continuing the diversity of species is about appreciating the environments they need to be successful.
Many of our families have also added specialised bird boxes, bat boxes or hedgehog houses. All of these encourage animals to our woodland and we have a good success rate of inhabitants. We have also added feeding tables at varying heights, and these have proved popular.
Anyone who spends some quiet time at Granville’s Wood will hear a wonderful range of sounds. When we first began working, there was very little birdsong. In 2019 we had our first confirmed amphibians and just this week caught an image of a badger on the wildlife camera.
We are not sitting on our laurels, there is still much to do. There are plans (on hold due to Covid) for a pond area, our planting of wild flowers is diversifying and we have been able to build our community shed. We hope to become a voice of experience as the funeral sector looks at ways it can become more environmentally conscious. Our positive impact, including the research and use of RTN Soil in protecting the earth from toxicity, is something we are truly proud of.