This is the story of Aylesbury Vale Crematorium, derelict land which got a new lease of life thanks to the crematorium.
How it all began
An abandoned ski slope on the outskirts of Watermead Village near Aylesbury was a scar on the landscape, but set next to a lake with views across to the village, it provided a serene and tranquil setting for a new beginning.
When the land became available for development in 2014, Westerleigh Group recognised that the nearest crematorium for the local community was some 17 miles away as well as being one of the busiest in the country. Building a new crematorium at this site would not only reduce the travelling time to the nearest crematorium, meaning that bereaved families would not have to wait too long to say their final farewell to a loved one, but also transforming the site to a new beautiful landscape, considerate to the local setting.
With this in mind, we set out to make our intention a reality by building a purposeful yet architecturally sympathetic new crematorium and memorial garden for the benefit of local communities.
The work began on site in June 2016 with the demolition of the old restaurant and in its place a new and beautiful building emerged, built to the highest standards, considerate to the surrounding countryside and waters.
Westerleigh had been working for some time with renowned crematoria architects Stride Treglown. Looking at how traditional crematoria design could be re-imagined into a more contemporary style within the context of a more modern urban setting, they were the natural choice to design the new crematorium on the site.
The site features a light and open chapel, finished in natural materials with stunning views over the lake, allowing the time and space so necessary for a unique and personal funeral. The building is partly of circular design and nestled into a wooded hillside. The gardens of remembrance are adjacent to the crematorium providing easy access to the beautiful memorial garden, which many families have chosen as the perfect final resting place for their loved one. A winding path leads up and around the hilltop offering long range views of the open countryside.
A special oasis on the edge of Aylesbury, overlooking the waters of the lake and offering a tranquil setting for families to arrange a personal and individual funeral, it is a natural and peaceful place for families to hold the funeral service of their choice.
Two years on
Aylesbury Vale Crematorium officially opened on 20th February 2019. Two years later, the crematorium is well-established within its grounds. Shaped by water, the final entrance to the chapel carriers the funeral cortege over a bridge, creating a distinct, private space for mourners to gather before the service.
Professor Hilary Grainger, an architectural historian and an acknowledged cremation design expert said: “It is a very heavy burden for a building to bear, to be able to assuage grief, to be able to create an environment in which people can frame their own understanding of the passage between life and death because it is essentially the mourners who do the work. Aylesbury Vale Crematorium is such a building.”
Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner-operator of crematoria and cemeteries, provides exceptional care in a beautiful setting so that families can remember, mourn and celebrate the lives of their loved ones in a way that’s uniquely personal. We will continue to enhance the surrounding landscape of Aylesbury Vale Crematorium in conjunction with our local communities to provide a sympathetic and scenic backdrop for residents of Watermead Village and beyond.