FREE next day delivery* on stocked items in mainland UK. Support UK Business Dismiss

Where Can You Scatter Ashes?

Scattering ashes is a deeply personal choice that can be influenced by the deceased's wishes, symbolic significance of locations, or family traditions. In the UK, it is legally permissible to scatter ashes on both land and water, provided you obtain the necessary permissions. To help you navigate the process, we've detailed essential information and thoughtful considerations on our comprehensive Ashes Law and Permission Pages.

Obtaining Permission

You can scatter ashes almost anywhere if you have the landowner's consent. While it's impractical to list every landowner in the UK, we have compiled the main permissions for prominent places on our Permissions Page. Always ensure you have permission, especially if you're considering private land or iconic locations.

Considerations for Choosing a Scattering Location

  • Private Land: If you have personal ties to the landowner, obtaining permission might be straightforward. Consider the privacy of the location and ease of future visits, which could be complicated if the area is not public.
    • If you know the landowner permission may be easy to obtain.
    • If you don't know the landowner then refer to our list of landowners that have stated permissions to see if it will be possible
    • It should make for a private ceremony, you will have you own space and time.
    • You should consider whether 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.
    • Will the land be used for anything in the future, urban land can change use over a lifetime.
  • Common Land: Do not assume that "common land" automatically grants you the right to scatter ashes. Rights on common lands typically include walking or grazing but not scattering ashes.
  • 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.
  • Urban and City Parks: Contact the local parks department for permission.
    • You will need to contact the district or unity authority parks department as they will be body that grants permission.
    • As a rule of thumb the smaller and busier the park, the less likely you are to get permission. Permission also tend to granted if that person had a connection with the park eg park warden
    • If you do get permission, consider a time and location that will give you the most privacy for your ceremony.
  • Sports Venues: These are often chosen if the deceased was a sports enthusiast. Check with the venue's management for their policies on ash scattering. Often a popular choice if the deceased had a particular sporting passion, we have listed the most popular venues:
  • Historic Sites: While many historic sites are managed by public or quasi-public entities, permissions vary. Less iconic sites are more likely to grant permission, whereas places like Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle are generally off-limits.

Natural and Dramatic Locations

  • Beauty Spots and Tourist Attractions: These locations often lack privacy and can be crowded, potentially complicating a private ceremony.
  • Mountain Summits and Hilltops: While scenic, they offer little privacy and unpredictable conditions. Environmental impact is also a concern, as high phosphate levels in human ashes can disrupt local ecosystems. You should consider somewhere off the beaten track, not at the very top perhaps around a tree, cairn or lake on the assent.
  • Rivers and Lakes: Generally acceptable with guidance from the Environment Agency, provided no non-biodegradable materials are place on, in or near the water. This section needs more explanation - here is our page on scattering on water
  • The Sea: Ideal for those seeking a water ceremony, with options to scatter from a boat or the shore. Always consider the environmental impact and safety.
  • Cliff Edges: Dramatic but potentially hazardous. Wind conditions can be unpredictable, and safety is a primary concern.
  • Woodlands and Natural Burial Sites: These can offer a serene setting, particularly if combined with a memorial like tree planting. You could consider a tree in a memorial wood see our section on planting a memorial tree. A number of natural burial sites can accommodate this - Planting a Memorial Tree  for a good comprehensive list

Scattering Ashes on Water

For those considering a water-based ceremony, we specialize in biodegradable urns designed for water burials. These urns ensure a dignified dispersion, ideal for settings like rivers, lakes, or the sea. They are crafted to biodegrade naturally, aligning with eco-friendly practices.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a location to scatter ashes involves both emotional and practical considerations. It's essential to balance personal significance with legal and environmental factors. For further details, visit our detailed guide on scattering ashes, which includes advice on conducting ceremonies, choosing appropriate urns, and navigating legalities effectively.

Our resources are designed to support you through this important decision, ensuring that your tribute is a respectful and meaningful celebration of life.

Scroll to top