A hand crafted Neolithic-style burial chamber - the first to be built in the county for 3,500 years - is being constructed in a remote field near Hail Weston.

The structure - called a round barrow - will create a final resting place for people of all faiths and is being built using traditional materials and ancient stone working techniques.

The stone barrow, a circular chamber that is 11 metres wide and five metres high, will contain niches that will house hundreds of cremation urns and even time capsules.

It is situated in a secluded spinney in Willow Row near Hail Weston and has been designed to allow mourners to walk a path to the barrow, in the same way people would have organised pilgrimages in ancient times.

Sacred Stones, the company behind the project, says the work is progressing well and it hopes to stage a formal opening ceremony in August.

"The inner chamber has taken form with the seating and first row of multi urn niches already visible," said Toby Angel, who lives in Buckden and is one of the company's four directors.

"Construction of the barrow is incredibly sympathetic as are the surroundings. Once completed, it will provide a venue for families to commit their loved ones ashes in a natural environment and in a way that celebrates life."

The current stage of building the niches is the most time-consuming as all the stone is hand-crafted, and in the next few weeks the roof, which will be seeded and covered in natural vegetation to blend with the landscape, will be laid.

Sacred Stones will be hosting open days, check the website at www.sacredstones.co.uk for details.

Fact File

* Round barrows were created in every part of England, mainly between 2200BC and 1100BC.

* They were essentially burial places, but were also used to carry out rituals and community events in the same way churches are used today.

* Round barrows were also used by Roman, Viking and Saxon societies.

* A world heritage site at Normanton Down in Wiltshire contains burials that date from between 2600 and 1600 BC, there is a Neolithic long barrow and 40 Bronze Age round barrows.

Sacred Stones has sites in Hampshire and Stropshire and has applied for planning permission to build in Hampshire. There has also been interest for the barrows from America and Canada.