A FINAL resting-place in an idyllic woodland setting with commemorative trees instead of headstones is planned for environmentally friendly Skiptonians.

The trustees of the Tarn Moor Estate unanimously agreed that a green burial site in which the deceased are interred in a cardboard box and then a tree is planted over them as a permanent reminder of their life, should be an option.

At a private meeting this week, they chose a four-acre field between Brackenley Lane and the Craven Heifer as the proposed site.

"It is a site of natural beauty, it is a peaceful and attractive setting with lovely south facing views," said clerk Michael Rhodes.

The idea is that instead of entombing and preserving the body, it will decompose and become part of the cycle of life. As a tree is planted for each person buried, woodland will be created.

The proposed land has been surveyed and meets all criteria set out by the Association of Nature Reserve Burial Grounds.

The idea for a natural burial site in Skipton came from Stirton resident Wendy Pratt.

She wanted to run a private burial ground on some of her own land, but the scheme was opposed by local residents. She then spoke to the Tarn Moor trustees.

They liked the idea, came up with the land away from any residents, and have asked Mrs Pratt to co-ordinate it.

She said there were about 130 natural burial grounds across the country and they were proving popular.

In Skipton, she said, there was no alternative to being buried or cremated at Waltonwrays, as even the church grounds were full.

"It is really about having a choice. This alternative burial ground concept is taking on throughout the country."

Mrs Pratt added that the proposed site was idyllic and discreet as it was away from the main road and away from the Craven Heifer. There would be no buildings - just a car park and some footpaths.

The burial can be planned to suit the family or the deceased's specifications.

The body can be brought to the site in whatever vehicle the family thinks is appropriate and can be buried wrapped in a shroud, or cardboard or other biodegradable coffin.

If they decide on a service it can be read by a friend, relative or someone from their church and if they want music or singing this is also an option.

They will be placed in a glade or shrub area, or can share a commemorative tree with a partner.

"It is really up to the individual, it is all about choice for all denominations," said Mrs Pratt.

The site should have enough room for between 30 and 40 years of burials and space has even been allocated for the interment of family pets. Ashes can also be buried or scattered on the site.

Mrs Pratt will be the contact person for a "green" burial service but before the site is opened she is to complete a bereavement counselling course.

At the moment she is contacting many different religious and non-religious groups, and funeral directors to talk about the scheme. So far the response has been mostly positive.

The plans will go ahead subject to Craven District Council granting planning permission next month.