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Types of grave

There are a range of graves available in our cemeteries. More information about the different types of graves is available on this page.

Everyone must pay a burial fee, unless our burial charges list says there isn't one. Buying a grave is an extra cost on top of the burial fee. When you buy a grave, you're buying the 'exclusive right of burial'. This means no one else will be buried in your grave unless you give permission. The right lasts for 100 years. After this, it can be renewed.

It's important for you to keep your contact details up to date with us, so we can contact the grave owner if we need to.

Unfortunately, you cannot buy a grave in advance. This is to make sure that there's enough burial land available for immediate use, and so our staff have easy access to prepare new graves in our cemeteries.

There are rules about what can and cannot be placed on your grave, and these will vary depending on what type of grave it is. We can remove any unauthorised items without telling you first.

We cannot accept liability for any theft of, or damage to, personalised items or headstones in our cemeteries.

Types of graves

Lawn graves


Available at: Acklam Cemetery and Thorntree Cemetery

Lawn graves follow the war graves principle. This means a grave which has a headstone, and the rest is covered with grass (lawn).

We'll cut the grass regularly, but overall maintenance of the memorial and grave space is still the responsibility of the grave owner.

As part of our regular seasonal maintenance, we'll sow grass seed or lay turf over the whole of the grave area, apart from an area extending one foot from the headstone.

Kerbs, fences, and mounds are not allowed for lawn graves. Personalised items can only be placed around the headstone, and cannot cover the lawned area or extend into neighbouring grave space. We can remove any unauthorised items without telling you first.

Traditional grave


Available at: Thorntree Cemetery - limited availability

A grave where a headstone and kerb-set can be installed. Traditional graves need more maintenance by the grave owner than other grave types.

A kerb-set surrounds the grave, and can be made of stone or granite, for example. The centre can be planted with flowers, filled with stone chippings, or covered with a matching slab. If you do not have a kerb-set, you can grow plants on the grave. Trees and large shrubs are not allowed.

The maximum area for a traditional grave is 7 foot by 3 foot. If your kerb-set or planting exceeds these measurements, we have the right to alter them without telling you first. Personalised items and memorials should not be placed outside of the grave area or kerb-set. We can remove any unauthorised items without telling you first.

Baby grave


Available at: Acklam Cemetery and Thorntree Cemetery

The loss of an infant or baby can be a traumatic experience, so we provide dedicated sections for baby graves in our cemeteries, where we hope families can take comfort from caring for their child's grave.

These graves allow for appropriately-sized headstones and memorials with kerb-sets.

To make sure we can maintain the area safely, and to avoid causing distress to other families, personalised items must not be placed outside of your grave space or kerb-set. We can remove any unauthorised items without telling you first.

Woodland and meadowland graves


Available at: Linthorpe Cemetery (woodland only), and Acklam Cemetery (woodland and meadowland)

Woodland or meadowland graves help to create a new natural, biodiverse environment. These graves allow people to give something back to nature when they pass away.

Six months after the burial has taken place, a tree will be planted on a woodland grave. Meadowland graves will be planted with seeds or meadow flowers during our regular seasonal maintenance.

To support the natural appearance of the graves and the environment, personalised items, headstones, and memorials are not allowed on these types of graves. We can remove any unauthorised items without telling you first.

If you're buying a woodland or meadowland grave, your funeral director will advise you about the most appropriate material for the coffin, and any other requirements.

Pictured: meadowland graves at Acklam Cemetery after being seeded with wildflowers covering over 400m2.

photos of meadowland grave sites

Re-used single depth graves


Available at: Linthorpe Cemetery - limited availability

These are graves which have been used before. Because of this, they only have space for one burial, not two. If you'd like space in your grave for two burials, you'll need to choose a different grave type.

Graves are not re-used until 100 years after the original burial.

Quaker and Hebrew graves


Available at: Linthorpe Cemetery

These are graves in the historical faith sections (Quaker or Hebrew) of the cemetery.

Muslim graves


Available at: Acklam Cemetery and Thorntree Cemetery

These are single depth graves for one interment only, in a dedicated Muslim faith section of the cemetery.

Public grave


Available at: Acklam Cemetery, Linthorpe Cemetery, and Thorntree Cemetery

If you don't buy a grave, the burial will take place in a 'public grave'. In a public grave, you don't have any say in who else is buried there. Anyone can be buried in a public grave, even if they're not related to the person buried there first. This can happen from 14 years after the first person was buried. No one has the right to put a memorial on a public grave.

Public graves can also be called common graves, and in the past they were known as pauper's graves. They are owned by the council, and not a private individual. If you want to decide who else is buried in your grave, or you want to put up a memorial, you will need to buy a grave.