Binning Wood: The story of the East Lothian beauty spot which is also a natural burial site
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Nestled right in the heart of East Lothian is a large, expansive woodland, with towering trees letting in twinkling sunlight.
Binning Wood can be found near East Linton, and is a popular spot for locals to blow away the cobwebs, walk their dogs and enjoy the tranquil stillness of the woods. It also is one of Scotland’s 20 natural burial sites.
A natural burial site, also called a woodland burial or a green burial, is an environmental alternative to more traditional cemetery burials. All materials used in a green burial are sustainable and natural, with coffins generally made out of cardboard, wicker, willow, banana leaf or bamboo.
In Binning Wood, the burial area is clearly defined, with small, wooden benches scattered around for people to sit with their loved ones. Some of the graves are marked with small wooden crosses or plaques. It is surrounded by winding paths through the woodland, small ponds and bracken, with wildlife all around.
The wood was planted in 1707 by the 6th Earl of Haddington before being chopped down during the Second World War to help build fighter planes. It was replanted when the war was over. The wood was purchased from the Earl of Haddington in 2003, when it was turned into the natural burial site.
The website of the current owners writes: “When the Memorial space is full it is intended that the land will revert to natural woodland and will be placed under long-term protection and preservation.”