FEBRUARY has been a busy month for the owners of a natural burial ground in Powys – and it is nothing to do with 90 or so bodies buried on site.

Hay Meadow Burial Ground, in Glascwm, near Builth Wells, has won a regional award for the best natural burial ground in Wales at The People’s Awards.

They also featured on BBC One’s Morning Live show, in a segment with Wayne Perrey, known as the TV Carpenter, who was exploring options for when his own time comes.


“After every funeral, families are asked to complete a feedback form which enters us into the competition and it’s all the lovely feedback from families that has helped us win this award," read a post on the Hay Meadow Burial Ground Facebook page.

Last week, the couple’s venture featured on Morning Live, presented by Gethin Jones and Kimberley Walsh.

Wayne visited Richard and Sarah at Busnant Farm to see what they do. He revealed his shock having discovered the price of a basic funeral costs over £4,000.

The Vales revealed the idea for Hay Meadow stemmed from the death of Richard’s mother, Carol, in 2008. They decided to honour her love of nature by finding a company that could help with a natural burial.

County Times:  The site offers both meadow and woodland burials. The site offers both meadow and woodland burials. (Image: Hay Meadow Burial Ground)

Richard told Wayne: “Mum said she’d love to be buried in a wood. We found a woodland burial site and it’s lovely. She’s now there, with a tree growing by the side of her. I’m sure she’d be very happy there.”

The alternative to a traditional churchyard burial got them thinking about setting up their own eco burial site.

They opened Hay Meadow in 2017, where families face paying about £2,500 for a complete package.

The dearly departed are referred to as “guests” by Richard and Sarah.

“We’ve got nearly 90 now,” said Sarah.

Richard adds: “We have people coming back from funerals and saying ‘we want to reserve a plot for the future for ourselves’.”

There were quite a few hurdles to leap in terms of planning permission but now that they have it, people who choose Hay Meadow as the final resting place for their loved ones can rest assured they won’t be disturbed.

“Planning covers it (the land) for a cemetery, so in the future it would be very difficult to build on it or do anything other than leave it as a cemetery. We look after them forever,” said Richard.

The site offers both meadow and woodland burials. The Glas Brook flows through the valley beneath and Hay Meadow is surrounded by 7,000 acres and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is home to a vast array of wildlife, heather and native fruits such as winberries.

The land continues to be farmed and grazed by sheep, with the meadows providing a crop of hay each year to feed them in the winter. Adjoining the meadow is Busnant Wood, created following a native tree planting initiative.

“The hills around us are protected and it was one of the things that attracted us to living here; it’s a lovely spot,” says Sarah, who adds that they ask for bodies not to be embalmed, while coffins must be easily biodegradable.

“We don’t want items in a grave really. Maybe a wedding ring, but we want to keep it as natural as possible.”

The land at Hay Meadow is not consecrated and Richard and Sarah welcome any faith, religion or belief. Arrangements can also be made for graves to be blessed.

For further information contact Richard or Sarah on 01982 570701, visit their website at www.haymeadowburialground.co.uk or the Hay Meadow Burial Ground Facebook page.