HUDDERSFIELD'S first natural burial ground at Rose Hill, Birkby, is holding an open day on Wednesday April 28.

The official opening ceremony will be conducted by former World Cup footballer Ray Wilson MBE, who also worked for 30 years as a funeral director covering Huddersfield and Halifax.

Ray has agreed to conduct the opening ceremony at 12.45pm for the first public open day to which a general invitation has been issued.

Rose Hill Natural Burial Ground is situated in the former park land of Rose Hill, a Victorian grade II manor house in Birkby.

Set in a small valley of about eight acres and largely unchanged for centuries, this beautiful, secluded and peaceful site contains many examples of centuries old oak, ash and beech trees.

Five years in the planning, the burial ground surrounded by a wall, will help to ensure the area is preserved for many years to come.

At Rose Hill a horizontal plaque in natural stone or slate measuring 18 x 12 inches is placed on the grave. There is no upright grave furniture.

Below ground everything is ultimately biodegradable. Both hard and soft wood coffins are acceptable as long as they don't include any lead or synthetic materials.

The modern system of registration, which has been in existence since 1837, continues at the new burial ground with all funerals and burials conducted only by registered professional funeral directors.

Examples of other memorials such as seats, benches and sculptures are also available and on display at the open day and in information brochures.

A scheme is also available to allow plot purchasers or mourners to sponsor one of the many trees on site and others planted in the future.

Grave plots are dug to five feet and can accommodate one or two burials as required.

A limited number of pre-booked family (multiple) plots is also available.

As each section of the burial ground is complete, the land will be planted up with further trees. Ultimately when the site is full, a forest will exist over the whole ground.

A website can be viewed, both for information and for the posting of permanent obituaries on the web pages.

Rose Hill is fully aware of the problems of vandalism at other cemeteries in the region. To combat this problems, all plots and cremation remains will be invisibly identified by a radio frequency system.

Work on the Rose Hill burial ground will continue for some time yet. This will not affect funerals but until the work is complete, public admissions will be on planned Open Days and by appointment. Open Days are expected to be a regular feature.

Normal opening hours for funerals are Monday to Friday 10.30am to 3pm. Funeral corteges for burial are limited to the hearse and six cars or a maximum of 24 people.

For a free information pack, contact your funeral director or ring Rose Hill Burial Ground on 01484 546322. The office is staffed between 9.30am and 4.30pm and also has an answer-phone service.