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Who gives you permission to scatter ashes on their land?

You need permission to scatter ashes if you wish to it on someone else’s land.

Local authorities: Local authorities don’t always like people scattering ashes in public parks and gardens, especially in urban areas because the parks are relatively small and a lot of people use them. Also, if you wish to conduct a ceremony, it is unlikely that you will have the privacy or space that you need to make it a special event. That said, it may be worth trying your local authority to see if they can make an exception for a small ceremony in a secluded spot if you have a very good reason.

Those that say YES, if…:

Woodland Trust Property: Yes, but with a lot of exclusions – woodland trust policy

Rivers: Environment Agency says the scattering ashes on a river can be acceptable here is the guidance  Scattering Ashes on Riverswww.environment-agency.gov.uk

National Parks: this is down to the individual park. However North Yorkshire says – There is no hard and fast rule. You should start by asking the person who owns the land on which you would like to spread the ashes. The National Park Authorities don’t own the land they are similar to a planning authority. As they say – Not ours – but ours to look after.

The National Parks are –

  • England –  Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the South Downs and the Broads which has equivalent status to a National Park.
  • Wales – Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia.
  • Scotland – Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.


National Trust: “The National Trust does not have a formal policy on this but is happy to consider requests on the basis that there are no environmental problems (i.e. possible contamination of water courses or sources, no accompanying permanent or indeed ephemeral markers), that it is not against any wishes that may have been expressed by a donor [of the property], and that the act of scattering the ashes is done discreetly and in private with no interference with others enjoyment of a property. We would also not expect that visitors to the property could see any visual presence of ashes. If these conditions can be met and subject to local arrangements being made with the General Manager or Property Manager at the appropriate property, consent can be granted.” – www.nationaltrust.org.uk

National Trust for Scotland – “The Trust has no formal policy which would cover all situations across the wide range of properties that we have responsibility for in Scotland.  The Trust is respectful of peoples’ wishes but must have regard for a wide range of issues including the environmental impact on soils, plants, rivers and streams.

Broad guidelines are available to Trust Managers and any proposal or arrangement for the scattering of ashes or any associated ceremonies should be discussed and agreed with individual property managers beforehand.  Contact details are available on the Trust’s website.  If proposals are deemed acceptable, the advice given may include specific locations and appropriate times of day with regard for other planned events and consideration for other visitors.

For the avoidance of doubt there would be a presumption against the erection of any sort of memorial, however temporary.” – www.nts.org.uk

Kew Gardens:permit ashes to  be scattered. This can be arranged via the Development Officer – 020 8332 3248. It can be done on any day, and while there is no specific notice period the earlier the better as only one scattering per day is permitted. Family and friends may stay in the Gardens afterwards if they so wish. A minimum donation of £500 is requested for all scatterings.

Those that say NO, sorry:


Peaks in Scotland and Wales – Welsh conservationists and The Mountaineering Council of Scotland have asked bereaved relatives to avoid the most popular sites and even to bury ashes rather than scatter them. They feel that it has a significant impact on plant life. It has been recommended that, when considering a chosen spot for the disposal of your ashes, people should avoid iconic mountain tops, by opting instead for a corrie, a certain point along a ridge or beside a particular tree on the lower slopes of a mountain.

Here is what the Ben Nevis Partnerships says: “While no attempt will be made to dissuade anyone from scattering human ashes on Ben Nevis, you should try to choose an area away from the summit cairn, and also away from the north face on which a number of alpine plants struggle to survive.”

Royal Parks – states: “We would prefer that you don’t. These remains contain high levels of minerals and other elements which, over time, can sterilise the soil and leach into watercourses, disrupting the delicate natural balance.”

Note: we have a lot more information different places – see our blog post on location

6 thoughts on “Who gives you permission to scatter ashes on their land?

  1. Reply
    Wendy - 26th February 2019

    Would it be okay to scatter or bury my husbands ashes on The Knot, Arnside.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 27th February 2019

      The Knot in Arnside is a beautiful spot, it is owned by the National Trust and as such it is possible that they will allow you to do this. You will need to contact the office responsible to acquire permission – here is the contact details https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arnside-and-silverdale

  2. Reply
    philip newman - 15th February 2019

    could I be scattered on Preseli mountains.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 26th February 2019

      Hi Philip
      Sorry for the delay, it is down to the land owners consent and the vast majority of the ownership will be in private hand. It would be worth contacting the Park Authority directly to what they own and whether they permit it. Here is the website -www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales

  3. Reply
    Katharine seymour - 14th July 2018

    I would like to scatter my fathers ashes on Snowdon. Is this allowed? If so do i need formal permission

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 17th July 2018

      The summit of Snowdon, is jointly owned by the Snowdonia National Park Authority, the National Trust and a private landowner. Yes you would need permission from the landowner. So, I suppose it depends where you were intending to scatter the ashes. The National Trust is likely to be the most amenable of the three, however often the summits of mountains are off limits because of many people wishing to use them to scatter and the ashes impacting the local environment. Also a lot of people visit the summmit so you would be unlikely to get privacy.

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