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Where to scatter ashes

advice on where to spread funeral ashes

Where you bury or scatter funeral ashes, is an important choice. There is a lot to think about, so here are some pointers.

Private Land – Private and secluded, you will have you own space and time. Make sure you have permission, make sure visiting will be easy. So our section on permission for scattering funeral ashes. For example golf courses are a popular choice, but revisiting the site may be awkward if none of the friends or relatives are members.

Beauty spots –there has been problems with excessive use and it is unlikely you will get any privacy. Arranging a ceremony on a busy day, at a much visited spot 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.

At sea – you can opt to use a boat or scatter on the shoreline for more details go to our page scattering on water

Mountain or Hill tops – Can be a dramatic and inspiring setting, however, there are a few reason why you should perhaps reconsider spreading the funeral 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; and
  • 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 eg to walk over it or even graze sheep there. Follow this link to government information on common land and how you find out what your rights are.

Sports venues: Often a popular choice if the deceased had a particular sporting passion, the three most common ones we get asked about is football pitches, golf courses and horse racing courses. Permission these days for scattering funeral ashes at football grounds seems to depend on where in the country you live, some clubs say yes and some no and some like Manchester City have their own garden of remembrance. 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, so bear it in mind.

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