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Scattering ashes: 9 popular places to scatter ashes in the UK

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Organising a funeral

Choosing what to do with your loved one’s ashes after cremation can be a very personal decision. Scattering ashes can be a wonderful way to pay tribute to someone's life and say goodbye in a unique way. 

You may wish to scatter the ashes in a memorable location or a place which meant something to the deceased. Whilst there is no right or wrong decision, it’s best to discuss the options with other relatives beforehand.

Here are nine popular places to scatter ashes in the UK:

  1. 1. At home

Many people will want to keep their loved one’s ashes nearby. You may wish to keep them in an urn at home, or you could scatter them in your garden. As long as you are the landowner, scattering ashes in your own garden is perfectly acceptable in the UK.

It’s important to be aware that you may sell your home one day and the new owner may not be willing to let you visit the spot where you scattered the ashes.

  1. 2. At sea

Scattering a loved one’s ashes at sea can be a great send-off, especially if they loved spending time at the beach or if they were a boating enthusiast. Most beaches and coastlines in the UK are accessible to the public and, unlike burial at sea, you do not require a license.

However, you will need to comply with guidelines set by the Environmental Agency. Whilst the ashes themselves do not have any impact on the water, it’s important that you only scatter them with biodegradable tributes.

You should also avoid areas where water is collected or where people are swimming or fishing. If you do decide to scatter the ashes at sea, make sure the weather conditions are suitable as a windy day may spoil the send-off you had planned.

  1. 3. Family grave

You may wish to scatter ashes in a cemetery or churchyard; this is usually one of the most straightforward options as many will have gardens of remembrance to accommodate this for you. If you have an existing family grave and you own the exclusive right of burial for it, then this can be a very personal way to commemorate a loved one’s life.

  1. 4. Rivers or lakes

Rivers and lakes have quickly become a popular place in the UK for scattering ashes. Similar to scattering ashes at sea, you do not require a license or permission to do this. However, it is important to check with the Environmental Agency that the water is not near an extraction point and you should avoid casting plastic material into the river.

  1. 5. National Trust site

The National Trust owns many places of historic interest across the UK and they can make for a unique and personal send-off. Whilst the National trust does not have a formal policy on scattering ashes, many families have been granted permission in the past.

If you do wish to scatter your loved one’s ashes on National trust land, you should gain written permission from the property manager. Prior to the scattering process, you should ensure there is no risk of environmental damage and that it is done privately.

  1. 6. Mountains or hills

Saying goodbye to a loved one at the top of a mountain can be extremely sentimental. There is usually nothing to stop you from scattering ashes on mountains or hilltops, though you will need to take into consideration that it can be very windy and it might make the scattering process that little bit more difficult.

Some conservation organisations advise not to scatter ashes on mountain peaks as they can have a negative impact on fragile plant life. It may be best to choose somewhere lower down the mountain and away from other visitors.

  1. 7. Sports venues

The rules and regulations for scattering ashes at sports venues can vary significantly across the UK. Whether it’s the stadium of your favourite football team, a local golf club or a cricket pitch, it will completely depend on the policy of the sporting venue or club. Some clubs and venues now provide memorial areas on their grounds for the purpose of scattering ashes.

  1. 8. Common land

Common land typically covers areas such as village greens or other places owned by local councils. Whilst you are entitled to use common land for activities like walking and climbing, you shouldn’t automatically assume the same rule applies for scattering ashes. If you wish to scatter ashes on common land, it is best to gain written permission from the landowner before proceeding with this.

Find out where your local common land or village green is by contacting your local council.

  1. 9. Divide the ashes

It is perfectly acceptable to divide the ashes and scatter them in several different locations. If you cannot decide on one location or if some family members have their own ideas, it can be a great way to fulfil the wishes of the deceased and those who are mourning the death.


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