Grave Stones

We will talk you through the grave options available to you at our sites and explain how ashes are looked after. We offer a variety of types of grave to suit the needs of the bereaved. These graves range from unpurchased graves, through various types of lawn, traditional and natural burial graves.

If you wish to secure a future plot you can discuss options with the team and look to reserve a grave.

The lease owner of the grave may choose whether to have the grave for up to two burials, if the grave space can accommodate it. This decision must be made at the time of the first burial in the grave. In addition, cremated remains can be buried in the grave following appropriate legal procedures.

The typical lawn grave is laid to turf. At the head of the grave the registered owner may apply for permission to erect a memorial. You are allowed a border 300mm from the front of the slab in which to plant, place ornamentals, vases etc.

Memorials on new lawn grave sections must not exceed 1metre in height above ground level, 100mm in thickness and maximum 650mm wide.

After the first six months following a burial, the grave will be topped up with soil by cemetery staff. During this time you are advised to keep any vases etc to the head of the grave whilst this work is carried out to avoid staff having to move them. After six months, but depending on the time of year, usually autumn and spring, grave spaces will be turfed or soil/seeded by cemetery staff.

Any remaining vases, flowers, plants, ornaments etc will be moved up to the head of the grave and placed on the slab. From this point on, the grave owner can only utilise the 300mm from the front of the slab for vases, plants, ornaments etc.

Natural Burial Graves

Natural Burial graves are available at Astwood cemetery only. These graves are located in an area that is attractive to wildflowers, birds and small mammals. Each grave is for one interment and there is no mounding. You can place a steppingstone memorial as a marker on the grave in this area, subject to the appropriate fee being paid. Link to Natural Burial area

Un-Purchased graves

Un-Purchased graves are provided for people who want to be buried, but cannot or do not want to purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial. The Council are not able to provide or allow a plaque to be placed at the head of an un-purchased grave. The family of the deceased have five years in which to purchase the exclusive rights of burial. After this time the burial authority may inter another unrelated person in that same grave.

Traditional graves

The lease owner of the exclusive right of burial may have a “full” memorial put on a traditional grave, which is securely fixed on a concrete landing. The overall height of the headstone permitted will not exceed the height of those other memorials already existing on that section.

Traditional graves are not generally available, however, if a request is made, we shall endeavour to find one, but it will be in an older section of the cemetery. Please discuss your requirements with the cemetery office in the first instance. Link to contact us

Muslim Graves

A new section has been made available for the use of the Muslim community at Astwood cemetery. The graves will be traditional Muslim graves with concrete liners and where mounding is permitted. All treatment, washing or dressing of bodies must be carried out prior to arrival at the cemetery. Link to Muslim Section

Brick Graves

Design of memorials on brick graves and designs for memorials must be submitted to the manager for approval. These are available only in double depth, and we require at least 10 clear working days’ notice prior to the funeral date for this type of new grave.

The contractor chosen by the Funeral Director or the family is to supply the manager, with a signed method statement and risk assessment before work commences.

Babies Graves

Several varieties of headstone memorials are permitted, but must not exceed 1 metre in height, 100mm in depth and 650mm in width. Small sets of kerb stones are allowed around the inside perimeter of the grave space, but the kerb stones must not exceed 105mm in height and 80mm in width.

Cremated Remains

Cremated Remains are placed in a “Socket” grave in the gardens of remembrance and are not interred in any of the gardens or on the memorial beds.

Interment of cremated remains in lawn or traditional graves

Sockets for cremated remains (under turf) on an existing lawn or traditional type of grave can only take place after the last full coffin interment has taken place as to avoid the disturbance of remains required by law. The remains must be placed towards the head end of the memorial, but not underneath it, so to avoid undermining the stability of the memorial. Cremated remains may also be buried in a grave following the appropriate legal procedures.

General Points for All Graves

  • The Council does not accept responsibility for damage or loss of any memorials, ornaments or benches. We will however accept liability if after investigation we identify that through our ongoing works on the site some damage has occurred by accident. We will make sure that the site is safe and free of obvious dangers and hazards.
    • Examples of hazards are glass, pottery items which break, sharp objects, items placed in paths reducing the width of the path and items which are a tripping hazard. Such items will be removed with or without prior notification and they will be available for collection from the office for a period of one month after removal.
  • It may be necessary from time to time to remove items in the cemeteries that cause disturbance or offence to visitors attending the cemetery. Please help the Council to provide a safe cemetery and one in which it is an attractive and peaceful place to visit. As a responsible grave owner, you have your part to play.
  • As part of routine grounds maintenance, the weeds/grass along the front and to the sides of memorials may be controlled using herbicide and/or a strimmer. It is not possible to keep all strimmed or mown grass off graves and headstones, but we will endeavour to keep it to the minimum.
  • If any plants/trees become too large or items are considered unreasonable, the manager reserves the right to remove or prune the offending items. Please be aware that the cemetery is a working place and at times for operational reasons some items on graves may have to be temporarily moved and subsequently replaced for a burial to take place.

Management of Headstone Memorials

The installation of new memorials, renovation of existing memorials and added inscriptions to memorials, is carefully controlled to ensure that:

  • Work is only carried out with the authority of the registered leaseowner/s of the Exclusive Right of Burial,
  • That all memorials comply with council regulations applicable to the erection and maintenance of memorials and work is carried out in a manner that will ensure that all Health and Safety Regulations are adhered to.

Memorials and surrounds may not be erected over any grave in which the Exclusive Right of Burial has not been purchased.

Once a memorial has been erected, the grave owner or their executor or personal representative will be deemed to be held responsible for the future maintenance and safety of that memorial.

Any memorial deemed to be unsafe by the manager must without unreasonable delay, either be removed from the cemetery or repaired by an approved stonemason. The costs of rendering the memorial safe shall be recoverable from the owner. It is strongly recommended that appropriate insurance cover is obtained for the memorial by the grave owner against all risks.

Applications for memorial work together with the relevant fee must be submitted to the cemetery office for approval on the “Memorial Permit Application Form”. You need to include the name and address of the memorial mason who will carry out the work, the material and measurements of the memorial, what you want to inscribe and a diagram of the proposed memorial.

The application form must also contain the full names of the registered grave owner/s and their signatures to give permission for the work to be done. The council are flexible regarding the shape and design of a memorial as long as they do not exceed the sizes given.

Only stonemasons who appear on the new Council Stonemason Approved list are permitted to work within Worcester’s cemeteries.

Memorials which appear to be in a potentially unsafe, dangerous or dilapidated state and require remedial work will be at the expense of the owner of the grave. Details on any aspect of this scheme are available on request. The Council reserves the right, after reasonable notice to the person concerned and failure to take the necessary action, to remove or change any memorial, which infringes these regulations or, in the opinion of the manager is in a state of disrepair.

The Bereavement Services Business Manager reserves the right to amend these regulations at any time.