Natural burial is the interment of the body of a dead person in the soil in a manner that does not inhibit decomposition but allows the body to be naturally recycled. It is an alternative to other contemporary Western burial methods and funerary customs.
The body may be prepared without chemical preservatives or disinfectants such as embalming fluid, which might destroy the microbial decomposers that break the body down. It may be buried in a biodegradable coffin, casket, or shroud. The grave does not use a burial vault or outer burial container that would prevent the body's contact with soil. The grave should be shallow enough to allow microbial activity similar to that found in composting. Natural burials can take place both on private land (subject to regulations) and in any cemetery that will accommodate the vault-free technique.
While all natural burials seek to prevent environmental damage done by conventional techniques, some go a step further by using burial fees to acquire land to restore native habitat and save endangered species. Such land management techniques are called "conservation burials." In addition to restoration ecology, and habitat conservation projects, others have proposed alternative natural uses of the land such as sustainable agriculture and permaculture, to maintain the burial area in perpetuity. Landscaping methods may accelerate or slow down the decomposition rate of bodies, depending on the soil system.
The first official conservation burial was established in the United States, however Natural Burial Grounds have been used previously in UK and the practice matches the methods used in many ancient and indigenous cultures.
Many funeral directors encourage a viewing of a dead body at a commercial funeral home as part of a "package" that the family of the deceased pay for, without knowing that it is optional. The primary purpose of embalming is disinfection, and the secondary purpose is to halt decomposition long enough to allow the body to be viewed.
In many countries, the law requires that dead bodies be chilled with dry ice or mechanical refrigeration to prevent microbial growth, though there are no laws mandating embalming, contrary to popular belief. Many cultures around the world use no artificial cooling at all, and bodies are regularly held for several days before their final disposal.
Special circumstances, such as an extended time between death and burial, or the transportation of remains on commercial flights (which often require unembalmed bodies to travel in expensive specialized containers), may necessitate embalming.
The most common embalming fluid is composed of organic chemicals and contains 5–29% formaldehyde, ethanol and water. This solution is biodegradable in time, but it cross-links proteins found in tissue-cell membranes, slowing down bacterial decomposition and inhibiting the body's breakdown in the earth. The ability of embalming fluid to contaminate soil or water tables has not been studied thoroughly. In alkaline soils, formaldehyde would be broken down through the Cannizzaro reaction and become urotropin, but not all soils are alkaline.
Formaldehyde is highly toxic to all animals, and is "known to be a human carcinogen". It is implicated in cancer, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, disorders of the nervous system, and other ailments. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the power to require embalmers to wear respirators.
Natural coffins are made from materials that readily biodegrade. Ideally, the materials are easily renewed or recycled and require less energy for their production.
Coffins (tapered-shoulder shape) and caskets (rectangular) are made from a variety of materials, most of them not biodegradable. 80–85% of the caskets sold for burial in North America in 2006 were of stamped steel. Solid wood and particle board (chipboard) coffins with hardwood veneers account for 10–15% of sales, and fiberglass and alternative materials such as woven fiber make up the rest. In Australia 85–90% of coffins are solid wood and particle board.
Most traditional caskets in the UK are made from chipboard covered in a thin veneer. Handles are usually plastic designed to look like brass. Chipboard requires glue to stick the wood particles together. Some glues that are used, such as those that contain formaldehyde, are feared to cause pollution when they are burned during cremation or when degrading in the ground. However, not all engineered wood products are produced using formaldehyde glues.
Caskets and coffins are often manufactured using exotic and even endangered species of wood, and are designed to prevent decomposition. While there are generally no restrictions on the type of coffin used, most sites encourage the use of environmentally friendly coffins made from materials like cane, bamboo, wicker or fiberboard. A weight bearing shroud is another option.
Natural burial grounds employ a variety of methods of memorialization. Families that bury their loved ones in nature preserves can record the GPS coordinates of the location where they are buried, without using physical markers. Some natural burial sites use flat wooden plaques, or a name written on a natural rock. Many families plant trees, or other native plants near the grave to provide a living memorial.
Cremated remains are sometimes placed inside concrete coral reef balls, and ceremoniously placed in the sea as part of a reef ecosystem. These balls are used to repair damage to coral reefs, and to provide new habitat for fish and other sea life.
Burial at sea is seen as a natural burial if done in a way that benefits the environment, and without formaldehyde. Some organizations specialize in natural burial at sea (in a shroud), allowing the body to decompose or be consumed by animals.
Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately:
When formaldehyde is used for embalming, it breaks down, and the chemicals released into the ground after burial and ensuing decomposition are inert. The problems with the use of formaldehyde and its constituent components in natural burial are the exposure of mortuary workers to it and the destruction of the decomposer microbes necessary for breakdown of the body in the soil.
Natural burial has been practiced for thousands of years, but has been interrupted in modern times by new methods such as vaults, liners, embalming, and mausoleums that mitigate the decomposition process. In the late 19th century Sir Francis Seymour Hayden proposed "earth to earth burial" in a pamphlet of the same name, as an alternative to both cremation and the slow putrefaction of encased corpses.
The Association of Natural Burial Grounds (ANBG) was established by The Natural Death Centre charity in 1994. It aims to help people to establish sites, to provide guidance to natural burial ground operators, to represent its members, and to provide a Code of Conduct for members. The NDC also publishes The Natural Death Handbook.
The first woodland burial ground in the UK was created in 1993 at Carlisle Cemetery and is called The Woodland Burial. Nearly 300 dedicated natural burial grounds have been created in the UK.
Each province and territory within Canada has its own resources and regulations for handling death and the disposal of the body. In British Columbia, green burials are treated the same way as traditional burials, as embalming is not legally required for interment. All burials are required to follow the regulations set forth by their respective provincial government.
With growing interest in promoting eco-friendly practices, natural burials have been making rounds in various Canadian news outlets. Some debate still lies in what makes certain funeral practices eco-friendly and how cemeteries make these claims as no government-imposed standard or definition currently exist.
Eco-friendly funeral practices in Canada can include:
Canada offers a wide range of environmentally friendly services and alternatives to conventional funerary customs and corpse disposal practices in Canada. The Green Burial Council is an environmental certification organization for green burials practiced in North America (Canada and the US). Environmental certificates are offered to cemeteries, funeral homes, and product manufacturers involved in the funeral industry. These certificates would allow consumers to distinguish between the three different levels of green burial grounds and their appropriate standards. The Green Burial Council also offers information on the types of coffins, urns, and embalming tools that would fall under the eco-friendly category and be available for North American consumers.
The Green Burial Society of Canada was founded in 2013 with the goal to ensure standards of certification are set for green burial practices. The society emphasizes five principles of green burial: no embalming, direct earth burial, ecological restoration and conservation, communal memorialization, and the optimization of land use.
The Natural Burial Association (NBA) is an independent, non-profit organization established in 2005 to promote natural burial in Canada and to encourage the establishment of natural burial sites. The organization lists the four current natural cemetery sites on their website located in: Victoria, British Columbia, Cobourg, Ontario, Brampton, Ontario, and Pickering, Ontario.
Located in Victoria, British Columbia, the Royal Oak Burial Park opened the Woodlands grave site for green burial space in the cemetery since October 2008, dedicating its space to burials that allow for the natural decomposition of human remains which in turn provides nutrients for the surrounding ecosystem. The area has native-growing Coastal Douglas Fir along with a variety of ecologically similar tree species, which the cemetery claims to keep as close to the natural ecosystem as possible. In order to be interred in Royal Oak Burial Park, embalming of the body is prohibited. The body must be kept in its natural state, which is then placed in some form of biodegradable container or shroud. Traditional grave markers are not used, but rather families are given options to engrave natural boulders or plants.
Found in Cobourg, Ontario, the Cobourg Union Cemetery is located on 20 acres of land, currently containing 3,800 burial lots. The cemetery is made up of both traditional burials with headstones and regular interment practices, as well as a green space dedicated to eco-friendly burials. Consumers are given information about biodegradable caskets and procedures for a green burial. Families are not allowed to place permanent markers on the grave sites other than native species of plants such as flowers and bushes.
The Meadowvale Cemetery originally opened in 1981 in Brampton, Ontario, with the green burial section of the cemetery opening in 2012. The cemetery allows for both burial and cremation as long as embalming is done without formaldehyde or other harsh chemicals. They also ensure that remains are placed into a non-toxic, biodegradable container. Graves are not allowed to be marked with traditional headstones, but they offer a granite stone at the site's entrance for name engraving.
Duffin Meadows Cemetery is located in Pickering, Ontario, and is attached to the original traditional cemetery. The cemetery offers natural burials for individuals who have been embalmed to eco-friendly standards, then interred using biodegradable shrouds and caskets. Grave sites will be left to grow over naturally, meaning grass will not be mowed and the placement of artificial flowers and other markers will not be allowed.
There are a number of different natural burial parks across Australia, each of them slightly different in what they offer. One of the more advanced park is Lake Macquarie Memorial Park, on the Central Coast of New South Wales which contains a Natural Memorial reserve, dedicated to natural Burials.
New Zealand's Natural Burial organisation was started in 1999 by Mark Blackham. It is a not-for-profit organization that advocates for natural cemeteries, promotes the concept to the public, and certifies cemeteries, funeral directors and caskets for use in participating cemeteries.
The first natural cemetery in New Zealand was established in 2008 in the capital, Wellington, as a partnership between the Wellington City Council and Natural Burials. It is the nation's biggest natural cemetery, covering approx 2 hectares, and home to 120 burials (April 2015).
Other councils have set up small natural burial zones: Marsden Valley in 2011, Motueka in 2012, and Hamilton in 2014. Although these have all based on the approach used by Natural Burials, they have not been certified by the organisation.
The Green Burial Council (GBC) is an independent, tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that aims to encourage sustainability in the interment industry and to use burial as a means of ecological restoration and landscape conservation. Founded in 2005, the GBC has been stewarded by individuals representing the environmental/conservation community, consumer organizations, academia, the deathcare industry, and such organizations and institutions as The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, AARP, and the University of Colorado. The organization established the nation's first certifiable standards for cemeteries, funeral providers, burial product manufacturers, and cremation facilities. As of 2013, there are a total of 37 burial grounds certified by the Green Burial Council in 23 states and British Columbia. A cemetery becomes certified by demonstrating compliance with stringent established standards for a given category. Ramsey Creek Preserve mentioned below is certified by the GBC. Conventional funeral providers in thirty-nine states now offer the burial package approved by the Green Burial Council.
Most of the 32-acre (130,000 m2) Fernwood Burial Ground, adjacent to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Mill Valley, California, is set aside for natural burial, with no tombstones or caskets.
Purissima Cemetery  located in Half Moon Bay, California is a natural burial cemetery located south of Half Moon Bay California Operated by Steelmantown Cemetery. Perfect for those that want to become one with the Earth. No embalming fluid. No concrete vaults. Burial shrouds, pine and wicker caskets. Preservation and enhancement of the natural surroundings. Natural stone markers. Hand dug burial sites.
Steelmantown Cemetery is the only cemetery in the State of New Jersey certified and approved by the Green Burial Council as a Level 3 Natural Burial Ground.
Foxfield Preserve, adjacent to The Wilderness Center's headquarters near Wilmot, Ohio, was the first nature preserve cemetery in the US to be operated by a nonprofit conservation organization. Naturalists from The Wilderness Center have restored this formerly agricultural land to native prairie grasses and wildflowers. A section has also been reforested in native hardwood trees.
Cedar Brook Burial Ground in Limington, Maine, the first green cemetery in Maine is located on a 150-acre tree farm thirty miles due west of Portland. Within its borders sits the rock wall-enclosed Joshua Small Cemetery, a tiny, historic graveyard whose dozen burials date back to the early 1800s.
River View Cemetery, located in Portland, Oregon, is registered with the Green Burial Council as a "hybrid" natural burial cemetery. Rather than restricting natural burials to just one specific section, River View permits natural burial in nearly every area of the cemetery, allowing those who wish to be interred in existing family plots without an outer burial container, without embalming, or even without a casket if they choose to do so.
Penn Forest Natural Burial Park is the first Natural Burial Grounds in Pennsylvania certified by the Green Burial Council. 2-1/2 acres are laid out for burial, and the other 32-1/2 acres are available for other uses: a barn for goats that clear the property of brush, hiking trails, gardens, an aquaponic pond for fish and vegetables, a blacksmith teaching shop, beehives and other sustainable projects.
Billy Campbell, a rural doctor and a pioneer of the green burial movement in the US, opened the first modern "green cemetery" in North America at the Ramsey Creek Preserve in South Carolina in 1998. This cemetery was opened to allow for burials where bodies are not embalmed or cremated, because of concern about the negative impacts that the chemicals and processes of these funeral preparation methods may have on the environment—which is why it is considered "green."
Countryside Memorial Park located near Marion, Texas southeast of San Antonio is a natural, green burial park. All burials occur at a depth of approximately 3 to 3½ feet and have a 2-3 foot mound of earth above them. This depth ensures that the nutrient layer is raised to a higher soil stratum where microbes and oxygen can expedite the decomposition process. Each burial is covered by approximately 60 inches of soil and is undetectable to human or animal noses (with the exception of bears, which are not an issue in Texas). Countryside was incorporated as a cemetery in 1991 but several pioneers were buried on the property previously, the latest being interred in 1869. At 1 1/2 acres, thus far 300 plots have been surveyed. It is primarily a meadow, though there are some mature oak trees on the property, with plans for additional tree planting on designated plots. Cattle graze the park in season.
Eloisewoods Community Natural Burial Park, established in 2010 located in a wooded preserve near Cedar Creek, Texas southeast of Austin, Texas includes walking trails to allow the community to enjoy the beauty of the preserve. Burials are only permitted in areas that will not degrade the land. Some areas of the preserve are “off limits” whereas other areas are suitable for cremated remains. These decisions are based on what is best for the ecological restoration of the preserve.The total land for the preserve is less than 10 acres.
Circle Cemetery, located at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve in southwestern Wisconsin, has offered burial of cremated remains and non-embalmed bodies since 1995. It is operated by Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan church.
Jewish law forbids embalming for traditional burials, which it considers to be desecration of the body. The body is ritually washed by select members of the Jewish community, wrapped in either a linen or muslin sheet, and placed in an all-wood casket. The casket must not have any metal in it, and it often has holes in the bottom to ensure that it and the cadaver rapidly decompose and return to the earth. Burial vaults are not used unless required by the cemetery. In Israel, Jews are buried without a casket, in just the shroud.
Islamic law instructs that the deceased be washed and buried with only a wrapping of white cloth to preserve dignity. The cloth is sometimes perfumed, but as in natural burial, no chemical preservatives or embalming fluid are used, nor is there a burial vault, coffin or casket. There is no legal requirements for using a coffin in the UK and a body can be buried in a cloth if desired.
Toward the end of its final season in 2005, the HBO series Six Feet Under prominently featured natural burial.
2014 documentary A Will for the Woods explores natural burial, primarily through the lens of one terminally ill North Carolina man's decision to have one.
Blackley Cemetery is a large, municipal cemetery situated within the northern suburbs of the city of Manchester, and is owned, operated and maintained by Manchester City Council. The cemetery and crematorium complex is located on Victoria Avenue in the district of Blackley. It was opened in 1953 on land that was previously a golf course.The cemetery contains Blackley Crematorium, the only crematorium facility operated by Manchester City Council (the other crematorium in the city, the Manchester Crematorium at Southern Cemetery, being an independent company), opened in 1959. The crematorium features 3 chapels - one large, central chapel, with twinned smaller chapels to the eastern and western sides of the building. The crematory area of the crematorium is equipped with 3 'Newton'-model cremators, installed by the Furnace Construction Co. Ltd. of Hyde, Cheshire.
The cemetery was, at one time, well known for having problems with drainage, with surface water being problematic during burials and visitation to grave sites. The city has worked to rectify this situation in recent years, with the installation of ground drainage schemes being completed in 2009. The ground drainage scheme has opened up new areas for the opening of new graves, in parts of the cemetery that were originally thought to be unusable.
A currently unused area of the cemetery is to be developed into a Natural Burial area. This project is currently in the planning and problem-solving stage, and it is as yet unknown when the new burial area will be opened for use.
The cemetery used to be a football ground for the local football team Blackley Lads. They used to play in the Manchester League; their best finish out of the 12 seasons they played was 4th. The team ended up folding with no record of where the players are now.Burial
Burial or interment is a method of final disposition wherein a dead person or animal is placed into the ground, sometimes with objects. This is usually accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing the deceased and objects in it, and covering it over. A funeral is a ceremony that accompanies the final disposition. Humans have been burying their dead since shortly after the origin of the species. Burial is often seen as indicating respect for the dead. It has been used to prevent the odor of decay, to give family members closure and prevent them from witnessing the decomposition of their loved ones, and in many cultures it has been seen as a necessary step for the deceased to enter the afterlife or to give back to the cycle of life.
Methods of burial may be heavily ritualized and can include natural burial (sometimes called "green burial"); embalming or mummification; and the use of containers for the dead, such as shrouds, coffins, grave liners, and burial vaults, all of which can retard decomposition of the body. Sometimes objects or grave goods are buried with the body, which may be dressed in fancy or ceremonial garb. Depending on the culture, the way the body is positioned may have great significance.
The location of the burial may be determined by taking into account concerns surrounding health and sanitation, religious concerns, and cultural practices. Some cultures keep the dead close to provide guidance to the living, while others "banish" them by locating burial grounds at a distance from inhabited areas. Some religions consecrate special ground to bury the dead, and some families build private family cemeteries. Most modern cultures document the location of graves with headstones, which may be inscribed with information and tributes to the deceased. However, some people are buried in anonymous or secret graves for various reasons. Sometimes multiple bodies are buried in a single grave either by choice (as in the case of married couples), due to space concerns, or in the case of mass graves as a way to deal with many bodies at once.
Alternatives to burial may include cremation (and subsequent inurnment), burial at sea, promession, cryopreservation, and others. Some human cultures may bury the remains of beloved animals. Humans are not the only species which bury their dead; the practice has been observed in chimpanzees, elephants, and possibly dogs.Coedarhydyglyn
Coedarhydyglyn or Coedriglan, formerly Old Coedarhydyglyn (meaning 'the wood along the glen'), is a private Grade I listed neo-classical regency villa and estate on the western rim of Cardiff, less than half a mile from Culverhouse Cross, southeast Wales. It is accessed via the A48 road between Cardiff and St. Nicholas at the top of "The Tumble" hill leading up from Culverhouse Cross and Coedarhydyglyn Lane which leads to Drope to the north. The estate lies between the villages of St Georges-super-Ely (to the northwest) and Downs (to the south) just inside the boundary of the Vale of Glamorgan.Death messenger
Death messengers, in former times, were those who were dispatched to spread the news that an inhabitant of their city or village had died. They were to wear unadorned black and go door to door with the message, "You are asked to attend the funeral of the departed __________ at (time, date, and place)." This was all they were allowed to say, and were to move on to the next house immediately after uttering the announcement. This tradition persisted in some areas to as late as the mid-19th century.Dignified death
Dignified death is a somewhat elusive concept often related to suicide. One factor that has been cited as a core component of dignified death is maintaining a sense of control. Another view is that a truly dignified death is an extension of a dignified life. There is some concern that assisted suicide does not guarantee a dignified death, since some patients may experience complications such as nausea and vomiting. There is some concern that age discrimination denies the elderly a dignified death.Fultonville Cemetery
Fultonville Cemetery, also known as the Old Village Cemetery or the Protestant Dutch Church Burying Ground, is a cemetery in Fultonville, New York. The cemetery was originally the burying ground for the Protestant Dutch Church of Fultonville, but was transferred to the village in 1848.
Many influential people in Fultonville's history are buried there. John H. Starin and Thomas R. Horton, United States House of Representatives|U.S. Representatives from New York, are interred there.Greenhaven Woodland Burial Ground
Greenhaven Woodland Burial Ground is a natural burial ground located in the village of Lilbourne, 5 miles (8.0 km) from the town of Rugby, England. It opened in 1994 and was the first privately owned natural burial ground in the country. Greenhaven is situated on 14 acres (57,000 m2) of former agricultural land and originally catered for approximately 7000 plots, but as of 8 December 2008, roughly 5,000 of these remain.Lazarus sign
The Lazarus sign or Lazarus reflex is a reflex movement in brain-dead or brainstem failure patients, which causes them to briefly raise their arms and drop them crossed on their chests (in a position similar to some Egyptian mummies). The phenomenon is named after the Biblical figure Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus raised from the dead in the Gospel of John.List of cemeteries in England
This is a list of cemeteries in England still in existence. Only cemeteries which are notable and can be visited are included. Churchyards and graveyards that belong to churches and are still in existence are not included. Ancient burial grounds are excluded.
Cemeteries in London and Brighton and Hove have separate lists.List of decorative stones
This is a geographical list of natural stone used for decorative purposes in construction and monumental sculpture produced in various countries.
The dimension-stone industry classifies stone based on appearance and hardness as either "granite", "marble" or "slate".
The granite of the dimension-stone industry along with truly granitic rock also includes gneiss, gabbro, anorthosite and even some sedimentary rocks.
Natural stone is used as architectural stone (construction, flooring, cladding, counter tops, curbing, etc.) and as raw block and monument stone for the funerary trade. Natural stone is also used in custom stone engraving. The engraved stone can be either decorative or functional. Natural memorial stones are used as natural burial markers.Mark Simpkin
Mark Simpkin (born 18 September 1972, Ashton, Cheshire) is an English television presenter and entrepreneur with a diverse business portfolio encompassing product supply and distribution, property development, a luxury travel business and Englands largest private natural burial ground.Megadeath
Megadeath (or megacorpse) is one million human deaths, usually caused by a nuclear explosion. The term was used by scientists and thinkers who strategized likely outcomes of all-out nuclear warfare.Midford
Midford is a village approximately 3 miles (5 km) south-south-east of Bath, Somerset, England. Although relatively small, it extends over 2 counties (Wiltshire and Somerset), is part of two unitary authorities (Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset) and is part of five parishes (Southstoke, Hinton Charterhouse, Wellow, Freshford and Limpley Stoke). Although all five parishes extend very near to the village centre, most of the residents reside in the parish of Southstoke and are part of the Bath and North East Somerset unitary authority.
The Cam and Wellow Brooks merge in Midford to form the Midford Brook, which then flows down to join the River Avon close to the village of Monkton Combe.Pallor mortis
Pallor mortis (Latin: pallor "paleness", mortis "of death"), the first stage of death, is an after-death paleness that occurs in those with light/white skin.Promession
Promession is an idea of how to dispose human remains by way of freeze drying. The concept of promession was developed by Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak, who derived the name from the Italian word for "promise" (promessa). She founded Promessa Organic AB in 1997 to commercially pursue her idea. The company was liquidated 2015 without being able to produce a functioning facility. The idea of promession is questioned and not a functional method according to critics.Southern Co-operative
Southern Co-operative (originally Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative Society) is a regional consumer co-operative in the United Kingdom. Established in Portsmouth in 1873 by dockyard workers, the principal activities of the Society are food retailing and funerals. It operates over 200 convenience stores and 50 funeral homes, covering the southern English counties of Berkshire, Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire.
Its business also includes a natural burial ground in West Sussex and crematoria in Hampshire and Devon, as well as an online home shopping service, Co-operative Mobility. Additionally, it franchises over 20 stores which trade under the Welcome brand and has also entered into a franchise project with Starbucks.The Order of the Good Death
The Order of the Good Death is a death acceptance organization founded in 2011 by mortician and author Caitlin Doughty. The group advocates for natural burial and embracing human mortality.Along with Doughty, members include Sarah Chavez, Director of The Order of the Good Death, Megan Rosenbloom, Director of Death Salon, and Amber Carvaly, Director of Undertaking LA. Other notable members are artist and monument-maker Greg Lundgren, TED speaker Jae Rhim Lee, alternative funeral home director Jeff Jorgenson, artist Landis Blair, and other death professionals, artists and academics.The group held its first "death salon" in Los Angeles in 2013. Another salon was held in 2014 at St Bartholomew's Hospital Pathology Museum in London by museum curator Carla Valentine.The group took its name from the Brazilian Order of Our Lady of the Good Death.Usk
Usk (Welsh: Brynbuga) is a town and community in Monmouthshire, Wales, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Newport.
It is located on the River Usk, which is spanned by an arched stone bridge at the western entrance to the town. A castle above the town overlooks the ancient crossing point. It developed as a small market town, with some industry including the making of Japanware, and a notable prison. In recent years Usk has become known for its history of success in Britain in Bloom competitions, winning the Large Village award in 2005. The resident population of the town in 2001 was 2,318, increasing to 2,834 at the 2011 census.Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative
Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative Ltd is a community-owned Industrial and Provident Society that owns 100% of the Westmill Wind Farm which is an onshore wind farm near the village of Watchfield in the Vale of White Horse, England. It has five 1.3 MW wind turbines erected in a line along the disused runway of the former RAF Watchfield. The wind farm has a power output of up to 6.5 MW, projected to produce as much electricity in a year as used by more than 2,500 homes. The turbines were erected in 8 days and the first fully month of generation was March 2008. It has an open day usually in June each year.
The wind energy cooperative was established in 2004 and has more than 2,000 members. The wind farm is intended to help to reduce dependence on fossil fuels whose emissions are considered to contribute to climate change. In 2007 Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative received a Schumacher Award. Westmill Wind Farm was originally developed by Adam Twine who was in the later stages assisted by Energy4All, a company founded to enable community owned renewable energy projects by Baywind Energy Co-operative.
Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust (WeSET) is a charity formed in 2010 that receives 0.5% of the wind farm's revenue each year. Its objective is to encourage and promote the deployment of sustainable energy, in particular (but not exclusively) within a 25-mile radius from Westmill Wind Farm. Its website has educational material and details of how to visit Westmill Wind Farm.
The community-owned Westmill Solar Park is located on an adjoining site. Westmill Woodland Burial Ground, a natural burial site, is also close to the wind farm.