Have Cambridgeshire’s badgers moved the goalposts?

Charles Cowling








If you want to be buried in Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, you’ll find the fees attractive but the rules, perhaps, restrictive. The parish council has placed a ban on coffins made from wicker, cardboard, bamboo or cotton. See the full document here

Why so? It has been suggested to us that badgers may be at the bottom of this: that the parish council wants to disincentivise them from digging up the dead. We have not been able to verify this so, to be absolutely fair, we have to declare that we have no idea why certain coffins are preferred and others deterred. 

If it turns out that badgers are the culprits responsible for this bureaucratic interference with the rights of Brits to bury their dead in anything they darn well please (so long as it doesn’t outrage public decency), where is the evidence that they dig up the dead? 

The answer to that is that the there are numerous reported incidences of badgers disrespecting our dormitories of the dead. You can check out a selection by clicking here, here, here, here and here

The diet of yer average badger comprises mostly earthworms and leatherjackets. But they are also known to predate on hedgehogs, lambs and rabbits.

They are also known to take carrion. 

Including the flesh of dead humans? Well, not to our knowledge, and we’ve done a fair amount of digging over the years to get to the bottom of this myth. Even those burial grounds that commendably bury shallow report no incursions by foxes and badgers. Simply, the theory goes, nature’s larder affords them tastier fare. Where badgers have dug up dead people in burial grounds this has been in the course of ‘clumsy’ pursuit of their normal diet. Their disturbance of the dead has been inadvertent — they have merely shouldered them aside. 

Have Cambridgeshire’s badgers moved the goalposts? We have invited Fowlmere Parish Council to account for its ban on certain coffins, and you can, too. The name of the clerk to the council is Mrs Jackie Wright and her email address is 


The parish council will next meet on 17 December, and Mrs Wright has undertaken to draw the attention of the councillors to an email I sent on 21 November asking to know why they have banned ‘eco’ coffins. You may wish to do the same. 


The GFG blog represents all points of view. If you’ve got something to say and an urge to say it, we’d be pleased to publish it here. We reach close to 2000 people every day, so this is a good place to get your message out. Send your words to charles@goodfuneralguide.co.uk.


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Roger Fowle
7 years ago

Roger Fowle Basketmaker Theres more i was all over the radio like a rash today ,move the bar to 01.07mins BBC Radio Cambridgeshire – The Jeremy Sallis Show, 04/12/2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk Cambridgeshire people and places with great music and lots of fun. Like · · Share · 3 minutes ago via The BBC website · Roger Fowle Basketmaker OK here it is folks ,what you have all been waiting for ,it starts at 02 37mins just move the bottom bar enjoy BBC Radio Cambridgeshire – The Paul Stainton Bigger Breakfast Show, 04/12/2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk Join Paul Stainton and the breakfast team who’ll… Read more »

Roger Fowle
7 years ago

This will be discussed onBBC raido Cambridgeshire wed,4 dec 0715 0815 listen on the iplayer.

Fran Hall
7 years ago

E-mail duly sent to Mrs Wright from the Natural Death Centre


Roger Fowle
7 years ago
Reply to  Fran Hall

Thank you Fran for you support in this on ,

Jennifer Uzzell
7 years ago

I think it was an economic thing, Charles. To encourage the use of good old English wool.

7 years ago

Some might say it’s a shame they ever repealed the Burial in Woollen Acts 1666-80… “No corpse of any person (except those who shall die of the plague) shall be buried in any shift, sheet, or shroud, or anything whatsoever made or mingled with flax, hemp, silk, hair, gold, or silver, or in any stuff, or thing, other than what is made of sheep’s wool only.” Other things I learned today: Apparently, the term ‘you can’t pull the wool over my eyes’ ( if I’m not dead) comes from these times. Gradually the legislation came to be ignored and the… Read more »

7 years ago

No, I have no scientific basis for it – just musing on the way Govts have always supported key industries, and that every body would have been shrouded in wool thus negating the arguments about what could be ‘allowed’ by parish councils! Apparently one of the arguments against Henley Woodland Burial ( a very fine place by the way) was the fear that badgers would disturb the dead who would be buried there. Apparently they don’t disturb the dead in nearby consecrated ground…. Badgers may be more discerning than I give them credit for.

7 years ago
Reply to  Evelyn

Learning something every day. Thank you Evelyn.

gloria mundi
7 years ago

This is a clearly the result of the attentions of the notorious grave-robbers Brock and Hare.

(Sorry Charles, it is a serious issue and they are surely over-reacting in their efforts to protect their community’s dead.)

Roger Fowle
7 years ago
Reply to  gloria mundi

one of my wonderful willow eco coffins is all the protection i want when i go .