Memorial shelter's first anniversary

DECEMBER marks the first anniversary for the memorial shelter at Cardiff and The Vale’s Natural Burial Meadow in St Nicholas.

The open-fronted, oak-framed building was completed last year by local builder Ceri Beer in time for the first memorial plaques to be mounted before Christmas. Being nestled in the rafters, the plaques will eventually line all of the shelter's inside walls.

Situated just inside the entrance of the meadow, the shelter has provided visitors with a focal point for their visit; to read the individual oak plaques commemorating those at rest in the meadow, as a space for holding funeral services, or just as somewhere for people to dash in and escape the rain.

“We are delighted that so many families have made use of the shelter,” commented Melissa Stewart, who manages the natural burial ground. “It means that anyone wishing to hold a funeral ceremony at the meadow, can now do so with a roof over their head. We like people to make the space their own for the day; decorate it, bring mementos, photos and personal possessions to evoke happy memories and celebrate that person’s life. It’s somewhere to gather, raise a glass and spend time with friends and family – after all it’s not every day that everyone comes together.”

From inside the shelter, the oak beams frame the view out across the burial ground to the hills beyond. Looking north over The Vale of Glamorgan is the Garth mountain and St Fagans, south is the Bristol Channel while the view east includes the Millennium Stadium and Severn Bridges.

“Our calm and simple approach coupled with shelter's availability means families can make the occasion more personal", said Annabelle Traherne, the burial ground’s owner and custodian. “Being able to meet families here to hear what they want and telling them what others have done before really helps to bring together a service and a resting place which reflects the personality of the person who has died.”

“After a funeral people are so generous with their thanks to us for providing this special place. Often, I’ll hear people saying what a lovely funeral I really enjoyed that. Tell the kids that’s what I want!”

Natural burial grounds encourage people to make the experience one to remember, rather than a day to be endured. To find out more visit or simply drop in at the burial ground when you’re passing.


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