Information for Prospective and Current Owners of Burial Rights

Plymouth cemetery

The Drake Memorial Park was created in 1943 as a lawned cemetery. Our founders intended to create a place of beauty with a natural, parkland feel. This was, and still is, in contrast to most other cemeteries where headstones and monuments form a rather different landscape.

People have chosen Drake Memorial Park for over 60 years because they appreciate its natural, uncluttered setting. It is vital that we preserve this distinctive identity. We need the support of every owner of burial rights, and visitor to the Park, to help us achieve this.

Opening Hours

Drake Memorial Park is open every day for pedestrian access from 8.00am to 5.00pm. The administration office is open and the Superintendent or his Deputy are generally available for advice and consultation on Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 12.00pm and 1.00pm to 4.00pm. It is advisable to make an appointment by telephone in advance of a visit.

Interments

Burial plots are available at Drake Memorial Park for traditional burial or the interment of cremated ashes; both are designed to accommodate up to two family members per plot. Plots may be purchased in advance by payment of the relevant pre-purchase plot reservation fee. A Schedule of Charges is available on request from the Park office.

Grave spaces are generally used in rotation as directed by the Superintendent or his Deputy, although we endeavour to accommodate reasonable requests for particular locations that are consistent with our plans for the burial areas.

Requests for interments must be made directly to the Park Superintendent or his Deputy at least 3, and preferably 5 working days in advance of the requested interment date. If you are using the services of a funeral director, the arrangements may be made through him/her. The relevant documentation/authorisation and the casket dimensions should be submitted together with the appropriate fee at the time of booking.

The Superintendent or his Deputy will oversee all interments in the Park which will normally occur only from 10.00am to 3.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 2.30pm on Fridays.

The family or close friends of the deceased normally make their own burial service arrangements. The name and address of the Minister or person officiating at the service should be notified to the Superintendent at least 48 hours in advance of the ceremony. Exceptionally the Superintendent or his Deputy may make arrangements for the conduct of a burial service in the absence of the normal family directive.

After the Interment

Shortly after the interment, our grounds staff will fill the grave, overfilling by 6 to 8 inches to allow for settlement of the infill material. We will then arrange the funeral flowers appropriately on the grave. You are free to return to the Park after this has been completed and rearrange these flowers as you wish. Once flowers have withered, we would ask you to remove them from the grave and take them home or dispose of them in the bins provided. Our staff have instructions to dispose of any flowers that are obviously withered.

The grave will then be left for up to 6-8 weeks to settle naturally. We do not accelerate this process by mechanically compressing the infill material because some people find this distressing. During this period we will top up the grave from time to time as settlement occurs. While we understand that you may wish to see the grave turfed as soon as possible, we would request your patience during this time. When the settlement period is complete, we will turf the grave and lay the memorial plaque.

Because of Drake Memorial Park’s designation as a lawned cemetery, we do not allow headstones, monuments, kerbs, chippings or anything of a similar nature. The only type of memorial permitted is an approved plaque supplied by the Park which is recessed flat in the ground on the grave. Please supply details of the wording you require on the plaque to your funeral director, or directly to the Superintendent or his Deputy, as soon as possible after the interment.

Deed of Grant

Unlike most other cemeteries, all rights of burial at Drake Memorial Park are in perpetuity. Soon after you purchase this right, you will be supplied with a Deed of Grant which specifies the grave space it refers to. The Deed also contains a set of formal park regulations. Please keep it safe as it is evidence of your ownership of the right of burial.

It is important to note that you have purchased a right of burial, and not the land itself which remains in the ownership of the Drake Memorial Park.

Flowers

When we turf the grave, we will install a flower container next to the plaque. You are welcome to use this for flowers you may wish to place on the grave. Water is available from taps positioned around the Park, but you will need to bring with you a small watering can to transfer water to the flower container. Please dispose of any wrapping material in the waste bins provided around the Park, or take it home with you.

Once flowers have withered, we would ask you to remove them from the grave and take them home, or dispose of them in the bins provided. Our staff have instructions to dispose of any flowers that are obviously withered.

Artificial flowers are not permitted at Drake Memorial Park. Also, please do not leave any vase or other receptacle on the grave. Our staff will treat any such items they find as memorabilia.

Wreaths

A wreath (containing natural flowers and foliage) may be laid on the grave on the anniversary of the death of the person(s) interred, and at Easter and Christmas. The same rules for disposal apply as for flowers.

Plants, Shrubs and Trees

As a natural environment, you will see a considerable number of trees and shrubs in Drake Memorial Park. However, in order that a balanced landscape is created and the future maintenance of the Park is not impaired, planting must be done in a way that is properly planned and controlled.

We are therefore unable to grant rights for the planting of flowers, plants, shrubs or trees on or around the grave areas. Occasionally, we may be able to permit planting of a specific item where we consider that this fits in with our overall plans for the Park. Any requests for such planting must be made to the Superintendent or his Deputy, and nothing should be planted without his explicit permission. Anything that is planted without permission is liable to be removed.

Memorabilia

In view of Drake Memorial Park’s designation as a lawned cemetery, we request that you do not bring memorabilia of any sort into the Park.

Our staff have instructions to remove any items they find. These will be placed next to the Park office to await collection by their owners. Any items not collected within 21 days will be disposed of.

We reserve the right to withdraw our grass cutting service from any grave which is the subject of persistent unauthorised memorialisation. In extreme cases legal action will be instigated.

Vehicle Access

Vehicle access to the Park is at the discretion of the Superintendent and is not of right. It is generally only permitted during weekday opening hours, but access to certain sections of the Park may be restricted when an interment is taking place.

All vehicles must leave the Park before 5.00pm when the gate is locked to traffic.

Do remember that there are many elderly and frail visitors to the Park, and that you should drive with extreme caution, observing the 10mph speed limit at all times.

Please also take particular care not to deviate from the designated roadways and turning areas. Some graves are quite close to the roadways and people become understandably upset if they see vehicle track marks on or next to these graves. We reserve the right to exclude admission to any vehicles we observe being driven persistently without appropriate care.

Finally, please give way to our grounds staff driving Park vehicles and machinery in the execution of their duties. We may occasionally ask you not to park in places where work would be obstructed.

Working Areas

During working hours, our grounds staff are required to carry out a variety of tasks in the Park, including the digging, filling and reinstating of graves, as well as general maintenance work. These activities usually involve the use of equipment and machinery.

For your own safety, please keep well away from working areas at all times. It may occasionally be necessary to restrict access to your own plot in order to carry out work on it or a neighbouring one. We endeavour to minimise any inconvenience this may cause, and request your co-operation during these periods.

Winter Conditions

Anniversaries may occur on any day of the year, and the bereaved often wish to visit the grave particularly at these times. The Park is therefore open for pedestrian access every day even though snow or ice may exist. We may, however, restrict vehicle access in icy conditions.

Please take extreme care when visiting the Park in the winter months, and avoid times when ground conditions may be hazardous.

Dogs

Dogs are a difficult issue for cemeteries. Some people consider that they are not appropriate, and we have occasionally received complaints about dog fouling on graves. However, where a dog was owned by the deceased person, it would be unkind not to allow the bereaved to bring it into the Park when visiting the grave.

Being sympathetic to all views, we have taken a middle line. When attending a grave, dogs on a leash are allowed. This obviously includes assistance dogs which are always welcome.

If you do bring a dog into the Park, please be sure to remove any fouling and place it in the general waste bins provided. Cemeteries are included in The Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996. Under this Act we can prosecute owners who fail to clean up after their dogs.

Theft and Vandalism

Theft and vandalism are extremely rare at Drake Memorial Park, but when they occur they are very distressing. Please let us know if you experience theft or vandalism.

The Management of Drake Memorial Park are not responsible for the consequences of theft or vandalism.

Other Regulations

All visitors must conduct themselves in a quiet and orderly manner, and anyone showing the effects of excess alcohol or drug abuse will be refused entry to the Park. The Superintendent and his Deputy have full power to exclude or remove any member of the public at their discretion.

The following activities are expressly forbidden within Drake Memorial Park:

  • the soliciting of gratuities;
  • the reproduction of music;
  • the playing of games;
  • the distribution of advertising material;
  • the transaction of commercial activity;
  • the holding of public meetings.

Legal redress will be sought against anyone who wilfully damages the environment of the Park or who knowingly obstructs or threatens the staff of Drake Memorial Park when they are engaged upon their normal authorised duties.