NOT all 25-year-olds think about death, but Keith Hall has been spending quite a bit of time pondering the subject.
That’s because he is planning to set up a natural burial service on family-owned land in Carmarthenshire.
He reckons the two fields in Saron in question, comprising a woodland and wildflower meadows, could become the resting place for 600 people.
His parents run the farmland predominantly as a wildlife reserve.
“A couple of older family friends who have visited it expressed an interest in wanting to be buried there because it has very nice memories for them,” said Mr Hall.
“A couple of other friends were interested in natural burials.”
Mr Hall realised Saron was well-placed between the closest natural burial sites he could find, in Aberystwyth and Swansea, and the idea really took root.
He said he approached Carmarthenshire Council and consulted neighbours and the local community.
Mr Hall said more interest then emerged from people about natural, local burials.
“The need was there,” he said.
He added: “Many local graveyards are filling up.”
Mr Hall submitted a planning application to the council but was advised he needed to do more work. It has now been accepted for full consideration.
“We should hear within the next eight weeks,” he said.
Consultees included Natural Resources Wales, which wanted to know the expected burial rate and ensure the proposal did not affect any watercourses.
The proposal includes a car park for up to 20 vehicles. Mr Hall said it would be sited in an area blighted by the tree disease ash dieback, although any surviving ash would be replanted in one of the fields along with some new oak, yew, hazel and hawthorne.
If all goes to plan Mr Hall’s new business will be called Bargoed Natural Burial, named after the river which runs through the woodland.
He said the business would offer a cremation and burial in a biodegradable urn in the woodland – marked in situ with a brass plaque – or a casket burial in the meadows with a plaque or tree of the deceased’s choice.
Non-environmentally friendly materials and chemicals, like embalment fluids, would not be allowed.
Mr Hall added that a trust would be set up to ensure the land remained as a natural burial site.
Natural burials are becoming more popular in the UK as the more environmentally-conscious seek to replicate their lighter footprint on the earth in death.
Mr Hall said he had been pleasantly surprised by the reaction of people to his plans, and reckoned death need not be a taboo subject.
“It happens – you can’t avoid it,” he said.
Mr Hall currently works for an eco-wedding company and plans to juggle the new venture with his job, if he gets planning approval.
He added: “I feel I should have done something with births as well!”
And, despite being in the prime of his life, he has his eye on where he would like to end up.
“I’ve already saved my (burial) plot in one of the meadows,” he said.