Welcome to The Windmills
Natural Green Burial
The Windmills Natural Green Burial is situated in Northamptonshire’s beautiful open countryside. Providing a haven of peace and tranquillity, glades of native trees offer a rich habitat for birds and other wildlife and enhance the surrounding countryside.
Woodland burial is a practice that has gone on for centuries and is today enjoying a revival. It allows us to choose where our ultimate resting place will be and the peace of mind that you will rest in scenic surroundings forever, connected to nature where family and friends can return and see the landscape grow with each passing year.
All About The Windmills Natural Green Burial
Approximately 1km to the south-east of Roade and 0.5km to the north-west of Hartwell this 5 acre site lies outside village confines. Our vision is to draw on the characteristics of the surrounding area and open countryside. Plots are available in our newly developing woodland. We facilitate full coffin and ash internments. Graves can be demarcated with wooden memorial plaques or one of our memorial trees.
Discover The Windmills Natural Green Burial
With native tree species; including silver birch, hornbeam, maple, beech, wild cherry, holly, and whitebeam, this habitat will become rich in small mammal life such as voles and insects in the lush underplanted grasslands. There are clear paths cut though the grassland, allowing access to graves. Over time the trees will become more established and form a memorial woodland.
The site is simple and natural and we only use sustainable methods in maintaining the site to encourage biodiversity. We work closely with our local council, Woodland Trust and Wildlife Trust to ensure we create an environment that is long-lasting and suitable to the indigenous flora and fauna.
A natural burial allows us to minimise our eventual impact on the environment by committing the body to rest in natural materials that will biodegrade and leave no harmful substances behind
Our Memorial Trees
Here at the Windmills we will source and plant your chosen memorial tree. We work closely with local nurseries and the Woodland Trust to ensure we source the highest quality trees, shrubs and wildflowers that will flourish and thrive in this environment. October through to March is an ideal time to prepare for the planting of new trees, shrubs and hedges.
Hornbeam, a native large tree though probably only truly native in the South and East of England, is one of the last of the species to arrive from continental Europe. A tree with a maximum height of 25m (80ft) though often less, it is upright when young but eventually forms a rounded elongated head.
Mountain Ash (Rowan)
Mountain Ash (sorbus cashmiriana) has clusters of white flowers in late spring, followed by orange-red berries in autumn and yellow autumn leaf colours. Mountain Ash can be grown as a large, spreading shrub or small tree. The pink flowers are followed by white fruit in autumn.
Wild cherry is a small tree of woodland edges and hedgerows. It displays a mass of white flowers, followed by its familiar fruit - red cherries. It has oval leaves and red, papery bark that peels in horizontal bands. These are loved by birds and mammals (who distribute the seeds).
Beech is one of our most iconic trees, particularly in the woodlands. Here, it grows tall and broad, turning a shining golden-brown in autumn as its leaves die, and littering the woodland floor with its nuts (known as 'mast'). It has shiny, soft, oval leaves; smooth, grey bark; torpedo-shaped buds; and large, hairy fruit that contain the beech nuts.
Maple is a relatively small tree. It has dark green, five-lobed leaves, which are smaller and have more rounded lobes than those of Sycamore. Its leaves turn a rich, golden-yellow in the autumn, but for the rest of the year it is quite inconspicuous. It produces large, winged seeds that are dispersed by the wind in the autumn. The bark of maple becomes corky with age.
Silver birch is a familiar, small, spindly tree with thin branches and papery bark. In spring, the male catkins (or 'lamb's tails') turn yellow and shed their pollen, which is carried by the wind to the short, green, female catkins that appear on the same tree. Silver birch has 'drooping' branches and triangular leaves, with jagged teeth that grow from hairless leaf stalks. The leaves of the similar Downy Birch grow from hairy stalks and are more rounded; it also has more upright branches.
Whitebeam is a deciduous broadleaf tree that is compact and domed. Mature trees can grow to a height of 15m. The bark and twigs are smooth and grey and the shoots are brick red in sunlight but greyish-green in shade. Whitebeam has oval, serrated-edged leaves that are softly hairy underneath and dark green and shiny on top.
Burial Plot Prices (2020)
Single Plot £650 (full body burial or minimum of 2 ash interments. A single plot can allow for a maximum of 4 ash interments)
Ash Plot £450 (suitable for shrub & wild flower planting)
Child/Infant Plot * The Children's Funeral Fund for England offer grants to cover costs
Grave Preparation & Administration
Full Grave Interment fee £570
Ash Interment fee £220
*full grave interment fee applies where a single burial plot is purchased for the use of multiple ash interments)
*Any coffins 6ft 9 inches and above in length or 30 inches and above in width will have a £100 surcharge to cover the additional grave preparation
* Weekend supplement applies
Memorial Trees & Plaques
Selection of UK native trees from £200
Personalised wooden graveside plaques from £200
(plaques can be placed by a memorial tree/shrub, on the wildflower meadow or on the Windmills Shelter interior memorial wall from £150)
Managing Director Jo Painter offers none-religious ceremonies. Ask for details and charge.
*We have incorporated a £20 charge into our interment fee's which will be paid into a ring-fenced fund, covering the long-term management and protection of the site once all the grave spaces are sold. This maintenance fund will ensure that the site remains an accessible, safe and pleasant place to visit, long into the future. This fund will be managed by the trustees and will cover maintenance, insurance and habitat management once the site is full.
From the Source
The exact words written in my uncles will were "it is my wish that my body be buried in a field with a tree planted marking my grave. I desire my service be none-religious". This was a suprise to me as he had not spoken about it when asking me to be the Executor of his Will. My immediate thoughts were how was I going to fulfil his wish. Having searched the internet I came across "green burials" and this was a new concept to me even though it has been around for nearly 30 years. My uncle has spent the vast majority of his life in Northampton and I felt it was important that he remain there. To find The Windmills was the answer to his wishes and to have only been open since May (his birthday month) I felt it was truly meant to be. The owner of the site, Jo Painter, was warm and welcoming and keen for me to visit the site and get a feel for the place. Even on a very wet day I was able to appreciate the views, the calmness and the thought process of Jo and her family to help create such a lovely spot. Whilst inevitably any death is a sad event, I feel the setting and freedom the site gives to the service of your choice helps to provide a unique and tailored funeral that suits the deceased and the family. It has certainly helped my family make choices about their own wishes and given an option that we were not aware of. I can visualise the site over the coming years growing and maturing in to a truly spectacular setting and its comforting knowing my uncle will be part of the natural growing process.
Funeral of my Late Uncle
Thank you so much for the beautiful service we had at The Windmills for Hollie. To say goodbye to a friend at 35 is not something you ever want to do, so to have to plan their funeral was a daunting task for all of us. Jo you made the process so much easier for us. By being always contactable, always listening to our thoughts and stories made it much smoother. Your tribute to Hollie was amazing and Hollie was given the send off she deserved. You added personal touches of checking we were all ok, acknowledging what a superwoman our friend was, sending us pictures of the grave with all the flowers on etc was all truly amazing. Thank you so much for acknowledging our feelings, her legacy and ensuring everything was perfect. Love Becky, Katie, Clare & Natalie x
Funeral Service for our Best Friend
Thank you for everything you have done for us and our dad during this shocking year! The level of customer care was fantastic! We had a lovely chat and you were more than willing to tweak a few issues. I saw The Windmills website pre Covid-19 and chose it as it was nearer to where we live, less established and a beautiful unspoilt location. We chose a natural green burial for dad as he wasn't religious and wanted something more natural. Jo & Neil were great, empathetic and knowledgeable people. Me and my family are looking forward to seeing the progression of the site with all the variety of trees and woodland.
Our Dads Funeral
My late mother was buried at The Windmills Natural Green Burial in August 2020. Owner Jo Painter looked after us and we had the opportunity to meet with her before the funeral. The level of customer care was excellent, the very best it could be. Clear, personal and caring. We did look at other burial grounds but decided on this one as it was professionally run, and organised. A beautiful spot which we felt was what our mother would have wanted. The Windmills is a lovely new site and we are sure it will thrive with the lovely care of the owners.
Funeral of our Late Mother
We chose The Windmills for the interment of my mums ashes. We found out about it after doing some online research and being recommended by another burial site. The site is local and more suitable to our needs and this type of setting was the wishes of my late mother. Owner Jo Painter looked after us and the customer care was excellent.
Interment of my Late Mothers Ashes
Get In Touch
Frequently Asked Questions
We’re Here to Help
We’ve compiled a list of questions people frequently ask about visiting The Windmills Natural Green Burial. We hope you’ll find everything you need, but if there’s something we haven’t covered, please let us know and we’ll do our best to help.
What is a Natural Green Burial?
Many people have been looking for an environmental alternative to the overcrowded and polluting burial grounds and crematoria run by local authorities. That is exactly what we offer, a final resting place with scenic surroundings where you can connect to nature.
Can we be buried together?
We do not bury in double depth graves for environmental reasons. However if you wish to be buried next to somebody else we offer pre-plot sales of an adjacent grave.
What type of coffin can be used?
As a truly natural burial ground we welcome biodegradable, non toxic coffins, shrouds and caskets/urns for ashes. We accept: willow, wicker, wool, banana leaf and cardboard, alongside traditional, solid wooden coffins (not chipboard) as long as they are made with wood taken from managed, accredited British forests. We do not permit non-degradable linings or plastic. So all handles, linings and pillows should be made from and stuffed with natural fibres. People can be buried with possessions; letters, jewellery, food and drink, horse shoes, tobacco etc but these must be made from natural materials.
How do I purchase a plot?
Plots are released in phases and you can choose between a number of plots at any given time. The purchase of a burial plot is for the right of burial in the plot only and does not confer ownership of the ground or any other rights. If you purchase a plot in advance you will be given a Right of Burial Certificate. This will show the type of plot chosen and its location, using co-ordinates generated using permanent markers, trig points, within the site. To book a plot contact site owner Jo Painter on 07891214564 or you can send a message via the 'get in touch' section on website.
Is The Windmills Natural Green Burial protected and can someone come and cut all the trees down for future developments in years to come?
We have incorporated a £20 charge into our interment fee's which will be paid into a ring-fenced fund, covering the long term management and protection of the site once all the grave spaces are sold. This maintenance fund will ensure that the site remains an accessible, safe and pleasant place to visit, long into the future. This fund will be managed by the trustees and will cover maintenance, insurance and habitat management once the site is full.
When do I need to make payment for a burial or ash interment?
Payment can be made at time of booking. All payments must be settled in full 2 days before the date of burial or ash interment. For information on payment of pre-plots please contact Jo Painter.
If the grave is not marked how will people find it?
We are very careful with recording graves. We use traditional mapping both on paper and digitally. People are not permitted to bring in their own grave markings, plaques or any monument or structure. Bespoke wooden memorial plaques are available and made to order through The Windmills and will be carefully positioned on the grave or within The Windmills Memorial Shelter.
Is The Windmills wheelchair accessible?
Clear paths are regularly cut though the grassland allowing access to graves by foot, wheelchairs & mobility scooters. Depending on the time of year ceremonies take place, turf may be laid to make access over the site to the grave easier.
Does there have to be a Religious Service? Do you allow Humanist Funerals?
The choice of funeral, whether it is religious, secular or humanist is up to you? It is completely your choice. The service or celebration is entirely up to the individual. People from a variety of backgrounds find that a natural burial ground can be a peaceful and healing final resting place.
The Windmills Founder and Managing Director Jo Painter is an accredited Humanist UK Funeral Celebrant. For more information on a none religious ceremony please contact Jo on 07891214564.
Do you provide a funeral service?
We do not provide a funeral director service. Most families employ a funeral director to assist them when faced with organising a funeral. Funeral directors co-ordinate the funeral and bring the deceased to the natural burial ground instead of going to a conventional cemetery or crematorium. The funeral can be as traditional or as modern as you like.
Are graves filled in straight after a burial or are they left until the next day?
The ‘ICCM Charter for the Bereaved choosing Natural Burial – Guiding Principles’ state that immediately after the mourners have departed the graveside, the grave shall be entirely backfilled and made tidy. This work is completed on the day of the burial and coffins are not left uncovered overnight. In advance of the burial, graves are prepared at least one full day before the funeral and are covered overnight.
Is there somewhere for people to park their car which is close to the site?
You can park your vehicle in our on-site car park. No vehicles, including bicycles, are allowed beyond the car park and onto the burial site. All vehicles, including contents, are left at the owner’s risk.
Can we plant bulbs & flowers on a grave? Can cut flowers be left on a grave?
The Windmills NGB is a natural burial ground which supports flourishing wildflower meadows and woodland. Although the planting of native British bulbs and wildflower is permitted, graves should not be individually marked in order to create a place of natural beauty throughout the site. The planting of flowers or shrubs is discouraged as it prevents the regeneration of our natural landscape. If you do wish to plant Natural British wildflowers please ensure that the plants you purchase are WILD FLOWER bulbs and plugs and NOT garden varieties.
As the graves settle a certain amount of top filling will take place, for this reason planting is not recommended until at least six months after burial. Further topping up of graves may be required over the years and the survival of any plants cannot be guaranteed. To enable the burial ground to evolve into natural wildflower meadow and woodland your help is critical in maintaining these guidelines. Please plant randomly avoiding the creation of gardens and the demarcation of plots. We welcome any and all communication before planting to clarify regulations. The Windmills NGB reserves the right to remove any plants judged not to be Native British Wildflowers.
Cut flowers can be laid on graves at the time of the burial. Any floral tributes containing oasis and plastic trays will be removed immediately as they pose a threat to wildlife and are not in keeping with our ethos of a natural burial ground. Large arrangements can be taken back to the post-funeral gathering or donated to a local hospital; please do not leave them in the burial ground. Artificial flowers are not permitted. Equally, cuddly toys, wood or similar, toys, photographs, candles or any sort of solar light are not permitted to stay on the natural burial site.
Is there an area for children and infant burials?
We have an area dedicated entirely for infants and children. The Children’s Funeral Fund is a scheme which came into effect on 23rd July 2019. The fund can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a still born baby over 24 weeks gestation to a child under 18 years of age. The fund works be reimbursing burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors directly so the family won’t get a bill at all. The fund will also pay up to £300 towards a coffin. The fund is available to all regardless of the families income. There is no residency or nationality requirements. Those on qualifying benefits are also eligible to apply to the Funeral Expenses Payment Scheme (FEP) by the Department of Works and Pensions for additional support. Visit https://www.gov.uk/child-funeral-costs for more information.
What size are the memorial trees when you plant them?
All our memorial trees are young and bare rooted when planted. They are pulled by the growers once they are dormant (they have gone to sleep for the winter!) so most will have very few or no leaves at this stage. This doesn’t mean the tree has completely switched off. The leaf buds start to develop for next spring’s explosion almost the moment the leaves have been shed. This is the best stage to allow the tree roots to embed into the earth whilst it’s cold and the soil is moist. The tree will settle and have the best possible start which paves the way for continued growth over the coming years. There’s almost nothing the winter weather can throw at these young trees that would damage them. We use tree protectors to allow for extra protection from wind, rabbits, and any weeds and grass around the base of the tree which may compete for moisture and nutrients. Our trees are between 4 and 6 foot when planted. Where the tree is planted on top of a body burial, the atoms and compounds of the body will feed the tree roots which is what we mean when we refer to the 'cycle of life & nature'. Tree planting season is November through to March.