Where can you scatter ashes?
It is legal to scatter ashes on land and water in the UK – for more detail visit our page on Ashes Law.
But where can you scatter ashes? The answer is anywhere that you can get the landowners consent or permission. There are far too many landowners to list all their positions. However, we have researched the main ones for the UK and have put them on our Permission Page.
Although you can scatter where you have permission you need to consider whether your choice is the best place, here are some thoughts on where to scatter.
Where can you scatter ashes?
- 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 and unitruded 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.
- 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.
City or Urban Parks
- 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.
Often a popular choice if the deceased had a particular sporting passion, we have listed the most popular venues:
- Permission for scattering funeral ashes at private sports facilities is dependant on the policy of the individual club. You will need to approach the ground’s owner.
- Note: whilst it may seem a fitting tribute for someone to be scattered at a venue, the surviving partner may have disliked the place and therefore will feel they don’t want to be scattered in the same place when the time comes.
The UK has a huge number of historical sites that might be appropriate. Many held is public or quasi public ownership. Permission tends to be granted for the less iconic site. Sites like Stonehenge and Edinburgh castle are off limits.
We have a section on Historic sites that has more information.
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. Whilst it may be your loved ones wish to be scattered there it might be wise either to scatter somewhere away from the main focus of the site or scatter a token amount.
Mountain summits and Hill tops
These sites 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 is unlikely you will get the privacy you would like.
- Cremation ashes in concentrated areas 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.
Rivers, lakes and canals are a popular choice, this is our main page for scattering over water
‘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 e.g. plastics.
A popular choice, we have a page dedicated to scattering on water. You can opt to use a boat or scatter on the shoreline or beach.
Whilst they are a dramatic location, but we would advise caution, because:
- The wind will be gust and unpredictable
- They are dangerous should you choose to scatter over the edge
- You never know how is beneath you
Woodland or tree planting site
A woodland location can be a great option. 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 – the Natural Death Centre has a good list of sites.