A HUGE woodland burial ground will be created on the outskirts of a village after a planning application was granted permission by St Helens Council.

A developer will now press ahead with a scheme for the site, which will cover 27 hectares of private woodland and meadowland off Blindfoot Road, Rainford.

It means the land, which is on the Knowsley Estate, will become a venue for full burials, ashes burials or woodland services.

The investment is expected to be more than £1million in the first year and 12 on-site jobs will be created.

GreenAcres Woodland Burials says building work will begin in early spring, with the first visitors expected in late summer, before the park is fully open by late autumn.

The company says it has decided to expand because of the “rise in interest” by the public in woodland burials.

People can buy plots in advance, meaning they will be able to choose their final resting place at designated burial trees.

The park will welcome people of all beliefs and denominations and hosts funerals and ceremonies whether religious or secular.

No cremations take place on site, although ashes can be interred. Graves will be marked by wooden plaques or carvings.

Nicky Whichelow, marketing and sales manager at GreenAcres Group, said: “The concept of woodland burials aims to reinforce the principle of life’s regular renewal, ‘the cycle of life’ so to speak.

“It is slightly different from other so called ‘green’ or ‘woodland’ burial sites firstly, because it is based around restoring and enhancing the biodiversity of existing woodlands that are currently in poor condition and secondly, because of the unique range of facilities provided.”

Work will include the development of woodland building for services, as well as paths, car parking and toilets.

The site comprises two 19th and 20th century plantations, known as Emma Wood and Grace’s Wood, however, the developer has yet to settle on a name for the ground.

GreenAcres adds that it will manage existing woodland to restore native species, provide additional woodland planting, and enrich the biodiversity by introducing bat and bird boxes.

Buggies will be available to help people who struggled to walk to access the site.