Where can you scatter ashes? There is a lot to think about, so here are some pointers. Once you have considered the location you will need permission – see our section on law and permission.
Private Land – Private and secluded, you will have you own space and time. Make sure you have permission, make sure returning will be easy. For example a golf course is a popular choice, but revisiting the site may be awkward if none of your friends or relatives are members.
Beauty spots –There has been problems with excessive use of beauty spots and it is unlikely you will get any privacy. Arranging a ceremony on a busy day, at a much visited site could lead to problems with other visitors enjoying the site.
Rivers – ‘It is acceptable’ says the Environment Agency (download this leaflet – scattering ashes on rivers) – but don’t put anything in the river that will not degrade eg plastics.
Mountain or Hill tops – Can be a dramatic and inspiring setting but there are a few reason why you should perhaps reconsider spreading ashes at the very summit:
- you can’t predict where the ashes may blow and it can be very upsetting to those present if they end up being caught by squally gust
- it could be busy
- cremation ashes can have serious impact the local environment. Plant species found in such places are very sensitive – human ashes contain a lot of phosphate that will upset the local habit.
- You should consider somewhere off the beaten track, not at the very top perhaps around a tree, cairn or lake on the assent.
In a wood or tree planting site – you can choose to plant one anywhere you get permission, but you will be responsible for it. You could consider a tree in a memorial wood see our section on planting a memorial tree.
Common Land: It is best not assume that if land is ‘common land’ like a village green, that you are entitled scatter your ashes there. Common land usually means you have the right do certain things there eg to walk over it or even graze sheep. Follow this link to government information on common land and how you find out what your rights are – the link is general and doesn’t specifically refer to ashes.
Sports venues: Often a popular choice if the deceased had a particular sporting passion, football pitches, golf courses cricket pitches, rugby stadium and horse racing courses. Permission for scattering funeral ashes at private sports facilities is dependant on the policy of the individual club. You will need to approach the grounds owner, and a word of warning – if the venue is private as with many golf clubs – revisiting the site may prove awkward.
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