There are three cemeteries in Solihull: Widney Manor Cemetery, Robin Hood Cemetery and Crematorium and Woodlands Cemetery and Crematorium. In this article, we cover all three, bringing you the latest information on how and when you can visit and the current rules regarding funerals.
With lockdown laws changing so frequently, it’s difficult to keep on top of the latest regulations. However, even during a national lockdown, it is possible to visit a graveside and funeral and cremations are still going ahead.
What are the Current Restrictions on Cemetery Visits and Funerals?
The Prime Minister announced another national lockdown on January 4th, 2021. Under current lockdown laws, people can attend a funeral or another commemorative event, as long as they follow the relevant rules.
Q. How many people can currently attend a funeral?
A. Thirty people maximum.
Currently, a maximum of thirty people are allowed to attend funeral ceremonies, whether indoors or outdoors. This number does not include anyone working at the event.
Funeral venues will only be allowed to accept thirty mourners if everyone can be safely accommodated with social distancing measures in place. For this reason, at smaller venues such as the chapels at Woodlands Cemetery and Robin Hood Cemetery, the number of people permitted may be less than thirty.
Q. What is a commemorative event & how many people can attend them?
A. Government guidelines describe commemorative events as:
‘Religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to a person’s death, such as stone setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes or a wake’.
Such events may take place before or after a funeral. During a national lockdown, numbers at such events are limited to six people. This number applies to events both indoors and outdoors and does not include anyone working at the event.
If a commemorative event is taking place in a private dwelling, including in grounds or gardens, only the household and support bubble can attend.
Q. Where can funerals and commemorative events take place?
A. You should try to keep any events as local as possible.
Should you need to travel, make sure households travel separately in private transport. If you need to stay overnight, hotels are permitted to remain open to accommodate people attending a funeral or commemorative event.
Q. Can I visit a grave during a national lockdown?
Crematoriums and burial grounds are still open to the public, but local councils and individual sites can decide whether to limit access and opening hours.
Cemeteries in Solihull and Birmingham remain open, although it is worth checking opening hours as these can change. If you choose to visit during the lockdown, make sure to follow social distancing guidelines when you come across other visitors. We explain how to visit a cemetery safely during lockdown in our Advice for Attending Funeral and Visiting Cemeteries in Solihull section.
Cemeteries in Solihull – Latest Information
In light of the changing government regulations, Solihull council is constantly reviewing the arrangement for funerals and cemeteries. As it stands, Widney Manor, Robin Hood and Woodlands Cemeteries are open all day. Visitors are permitted to visit graves and attend funerals but are requested to follow all government guidelines and social distancing measures.
Current opening hours for cemeteries in Solihull, including Widney Manor, Robin Hood and Woodlands Cemeteries:
|Day / Month||Opening Times|
|November to January||9:00am – 4:15pm|
|February, March and October||9:00am – 5:00pm|
|April to September||9:00am – 6:00pm|
|Sundays and Banks Holidays||Open at 10:00am
Close at the same times as above.
|Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day||10:00am – 2:30pm|
Widney Manor Cemetery, Robin Hood Cemetery and Woodlands Cemetery – Latest Information
Widney Manor Cemetery – Latest Information
Thirty mourners can attend outdoor burials at Widney Manor Cemetery. As the cemetery does not have its own Chapel, the nearby Robin Hood Crematorium Chapel can be used for services. Under the current rules, this chapel is restricted to twenty mourners inside and ten outside. They ask that all visitors follow local and national social distancing guidance.
Robin Hood Cemetery and Crematorium – Latest Information
The number of mourners that can attend Robin Hood chapel is limited to twenty. This is due to the limited size of the chapel and social distancing requirements, and the need to sanitise between each service.
Ten people are welcome to listen outside the chapel where a loudspeaker can be set up so that they can hear the service.
Robin Hood funeral directors can also help with webcasting so that those unable to attend can watch the service from home. Attendees can film and share the funeral service, with the permission of the funeral applicant and minister.
Woodlands Cemetery and Crematorium – Latest Information
Due to the size of the chapel, the number of mourners allowed inside has to be restricted to twenty. A further ten people are permitted to wait outside the chapel, where the service can be broadcast to them via loudspeaker.
Attendees are allowed to film and stream the service with the permission of the funeral applicant and minister. Webcasting is also available at Woodlands so that mourners unable to attend in person can watch and listen to the service.
Widney Manor Cemetery – Services Available
Set amidst the green fields surrounding Bentley Heath, Widney Manor was opened in 1922 and offers a peaceful, rural burial place.
At Widney Manor, there are traditional graves, lawn graves, Muslim graves for Solihull residents, Coptic Christian graves, Greek Orthodox graves and children’s graves.
Ashes can be scattered within the remembrance gardens or interned in the cremated remains graves.
Robin Hood Cemetery and Crematorium – Services Available
Just minutes from Shirley town centre, Robin Hood Cemetery and Crematorium covers an area of 45 acres. The cemetery was opened in 1917, with the Cemetery Chapel added in 1931. The Crematorium opened some years later in 1958. The vast grounds hold ancient woodlands, remembrance gardens and special memorial areas.
At Robin Hood Cemetery, there are traditional graves, lawn graves and cremated remains graves. Ashes can also be scattered within the remembrance gardens. There is an organ available for use, but there is no onsite organist. Standard chapel services last for thirty minutes, but extra time can be arranged.
Woodlands Cemetery and Crematorium – Services Available
Woodlands Cemetery and Crematorium is well-connected to Coleshill offering spacious greenery and a peaceful location. There is a large woodland area and pool within the grounds.
The youngest of the three cemeteries in Solihull, Woodlands was opened in 1984. The chapel was extended in 2000 to provide a Crematorium. All architecture has been sympathetically designed to fit with the rural location.
Woodlands Cemetery consists of lawn graves, children’s graves, cremated remains graves and remembrance gardens set aside for the scattering of ashes. There is an organ available for use, but no onsite organist is provided. Standard chapel services last for thirty minutes, but extra time can be arranged.
Arranging a Headstone
Memorial headstone permits are currently being processed and your stonemason can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The council are not currently accepting postal applications.
Based in Shirley, at Bannocks of Solihull, we provide headstones services for all cemeteries in Solihull, including Widney Manor, Robin Hood and Woodlands. You can contact us online via our contact form, where you will also find a direct contact number and email.
Will We Return to Tiered Rules When Lockdown is Over?
The government is still deciding on this, but it looks like the most likely option. During a televised interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge, UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, explained that a return to the tiered system would be likely from March onwards. A regional, phased approach will likely be adopted to ease the country out of lockdown.
If the regional tiers are the same as they were before 4th January, Birmingham and Solihull will likely be returned to Tier 4.
Further information has not yet been released about updating the rules for each tier. Before the third national lockdown, the previous tiered rules for funerals were as follows:
The first 3 tiers have the same restrictions for funerals, with stricter measures enforced in Tier 4. However, regulations are constantly changing, and we currently have no further information on what post-lockdown rules will look like.
For the most accurate, up to date information, check the official government website. Here, you can find all the latest regulations and further information if you need more detailed guidance.
Advice for Attending Funerals and Visiting Cemeteries in Solihull During Lockdown
Social distancing rules apply to funeral services, commemorative events and cemetery visits.
- Stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household or support bubble, this includes cemetery staff.
- Regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wear a face-covering unless you are exempt. It is required by law to wear a face-covering when attending an indoor place of worship, this includes crematoria and burial ground chapels.
- Limit singing and shouting as this can increase the chance of airborne transmission of the virus. Consider instrumental music or recordings as an alternative and use microphones to avoid raised voices.
- Inform others if there is a clinically vulnerable person in attendance as social distancing is imperative to keep them safe.
- Encourage remote participation where possible. Many venues are now able to live stream the event so that people who cannot attend in person can watch from home.
With many cemeteries offering video streaming services and allowing filming in the chapel, it’s a good idea to be prepared for this. Get a tech-savvy family member to help you so that the whole family can watch the funeral service, wherever they are.
Help for Dealing with Bereavement During a Pandemic
Dealing with grief and loss is difficult at the best of times. This can be particularly painful during a pandemic as we may not be able to say goodbye to our loved ones in the way we wish we could. The NHS and Cruse Bereavement Care offer free advice and support on dealing with bereavement during the pandemic. AtaLoss.org can signpost you to further resources and the Childhood Bereavement Network specialises in supporting young people dealing with loss.