Visiting Sun Rising
Sun Rising is open every day of the year.
8 am - 5 pm, October to March
8 am - 8 pm, April to September
There is not always a member of staff on site, but you are welcome to contact us in advance to arrange a meeting or if you need any assistance or information.
Please remember that Sun Rising is a nature reserve: dress for the weather and wear sensible shoes. Dogs are not allowed onsite, except with a special permit.
COVID-19: for your safety and the safety of others, the toilet is not currently available to visitors. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
There is an Eco-toilet in the cabin by the Main Car Park. Please note that this is only available when a member of staff is on site.
Accessibility for Visitors with Different Mobility
Sun Rising aims to be accessible for all. However, we are a nature reserve and as such may not be entirely accessible to everyone. We advise all visitors with different mobility to call ahead of an intended visit and discuss specific needs.
It is possible for us to unlock the internal gates to allow vehicular access right up to the Roundhouse, and within 50 yards of any grave. Stone tracks and mown paths may be bumpy for wheelchair users but are fine for sturdy motorised scooters. We have our own Tramper off-road scooter for supervised use by visitors who call in advance.
In the summer, much of the burial ground and nature reserve is covered in long grass, but paths are mown to allow for access to most new graves. Older graves become wilder and hard to reach for those with limited mobility. The Roundhouse has a ramp, and the cabin and toilet are accessible for standard wheelchairs.
Please call or email if you have any queries.
Finding a Grave
At a natural burial it is not always easy to find a grave. At Sun Rising, meadow graves are not marked. Woodland graves may have a small slate plaque, but this will not be installed until the grave has settled. Where a tree plaque has been ordered, there may be a temporary grave marker if the family have requested it.
Families may believe they know just which their loved one's grave is, but nature changes - grass grows or is mown, trees are in leaf or bare; other grave plots are used; even the colours of the wide open skies can confuse us. We know how distressing it can be for someone unable to find a particular grave: if you would like help locating a grave, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We can send a map in advance, direct you over the phone, or meet you onsite. We are here to help at this difficult time.
For those of a technical disposition, we can give you a grid reference or a what3words code to find a particular grave.
Flowers and Other Offerings
Families and friends may leave natural cut flowers on graves. However, as a nature reserve, we have strict regulations as to what is permitted. Please check our Floral Tributes page:
In accordance with our Cemetery Regulations, ornaments, spinners, vases, jars or grave markers are not permitted at Sun Rising, except the slate plaques (and temporary wooden markers) supplied by us. We remove and dispose of anything else that is placed on graves. Our aim is to keep the burial ground looking natural, unlike a cemetery.
Tending and Planting on a Grave
Families are asked not to tend individual graves. We care for every grave with equal care, nurturing the development of the nature reserve. Newer graves are likely to be more accessible, while older graves become wilder. The grasses and flowers are cut back once a year, between June and October, with a few areas left a little longer to extend their use as natural habitats. If you are worried about the look of your loved one's grave, please get in touch.
Graves are left to settle naturally. This may take a good six months, wet weather helping the natural process. The raw clay can look harsh on a new grave, but gradually sunshine, rain and frost will break up the soil, softening it and allowing seeds to take hold and grow. In the first summer, a grave may begin to green over, but the first arrivals are always those rather tatty plants we tend to think of as weeds: dandelions, charlock, wild carrot, sow thistle and other thistles. In the second year, however, the wildflowers will begin to show. Like so much in nature, the process requires our patience.
Sometimes it is possible to give nature a helping hand, and where families would like to sow seed, put in bulbs or little plants, this may be fine - but only if what is sown or planted is on our list of acceptable native plants. We do remove all non-native plants and garden cultivars. The following are pdf documents that can be downloaded to read or print.
At our autumn Planting Day each year, we usually have a few thousand bulbs and plants that families can purchase to plant on graves. At some times of year, we have packets of wildflower seeds that are espeically selected and appropriate for the natural burial ground and nature reserve. These are just £2.50 per packet, and are best sown in spring or autumn. Let us know if you are interested.
If you feel you'd like to get more involved with the development of the nature reserve, and would like your loved one's grave planted more fully or quickly, let us know and we can talk through options and possibilities.
Local History and Places of Interest
Sun Rising is surrounded by a wealth of British history.
The site is just beneath the escarpment where one or two of the five horses were carved into the red clay earth. Stories vary as to how old the horses were, but many believe them to have been originally Saxon, and re-carved through the medieval period up until the nineteenth century. Sadly, it can't be seen today.
The Battle of Edgehill
The battle which began the English Civil War took place just a few miles to the east of the burial ground in what is now an idyllic landscape, near Kineton and Radway.
This 17th century mansion house, now looked after by the National Trust, is a treasure just a few miles to the south of the burial ground.
The burial ground is just a mile from Lower Tysoe, a hamlet once called Temple Tysoe because its links with the Knights Templar. The church in Middle Tysoe, St Mary's, is a beautiful Saxon / Norman building in the local honey-coloured stone.
The Rollright Stones
This late neolithic stone circle is a one Britain's best preserved ancient monuments.