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can you scatter ashes anywhere

Can you scatter ashes anywhere?

Can you scatter ashes anywhere? The answer is no you can’t. The law in UK is very relaxed compared to many countries but you need the landowners permission. Someone landowners are fine and others are not.

As a general rule of thumb the more open and spacious the more likely you are to get permission. For example most urban parks will not allow it because of the high usage and and the space available. London Royal Parks specifically ban the scattering of ashes in any of their parks  (eg Hyde Park).

There are a number of large land owners that have stated positions,  for example the National Trust (England) has a very positive and progressive approach and will allow scattering on many of of its sites with a few provisos. Beaches are are another popular choice and these, if they are not private, are permissible although we do advise that you consider other users and take a few steps to make your ceremony special, for example holding the ceremony at a quite time of day, don’t scatter where people enter the beach and choose a spot below the high tide line.

A popular misconception is common land, many of think that as it is common this enables us to do pretty much what we like, however this is not the case the common land may be just an ancient right over the land such as grazing sheep. So you will need to check, your local authority is a good start.

The other issue worth pointing out is that the scattering ashes is different to the the burying of ashes. Strange as it may seem they are treated entirely differently whilst scattering rules are permissive, burial rules are not. You can bury if you have the landowner’s permission but you will need to seek the appropriate paperwork from the local authority which will mean the site will be registered. This prevents people buying houses and then unearthing people cremated remains without prior knowledge.

So when people ask to us – “Can you scatter ashes anywhere?”

We say, basically:

  • you need permission,
  • you should:
    • be minded of others
    • scatter the ashes widely, as opposed tipping the urn straight up
    • not leave anything at the site other than ashes

With some thought you can make it a wonderful memorable ceremony.

7 thoughts on “Can you scatter ashes anywhere?

  1. Reply
    Janet - 25th November 2021

    Is it OK to scatter ashes in a church garden if the managing Trustees agree?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 26th November 2021

      I am not sure Janet, I would think so. They are responsible for managing the land are they not? Have they consulted the dioceses?
      Kind regards

  2. Reply
    Sean Doyle - 6th January 2021

    My mum was scattered in my horrible stepfather garden as he couldn’t be bothered to have a grave. HE DIDNT LET ME KNOW OF THE SCATTERING AND HAS SOLD THE HOUSE AND I HAVE NO WHERE TO VUSIT.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 7th January 2021

      Sean that is awful, people can be so uncaring and insensitive. I hope you find peace.

    2. Reply
      Richard Martin - 7th January 2021

      Dear Sean – that is awful some people are so uncaring and insensitive. I hope you find peace.

  3. Reply
    Vicky Wellington - 30th August 2020

    An interesting read but whoever wrote it should take English lessons as the written information is dreadful.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 3rd September 2020

      Hi Vicky, that would be my fault. I will take your comment on board. I will also review to make sure the English is butterrr. ;-)

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