Where to Scatter Ashes
People who have already decided on cremation often do so because they have an idea of where they would like to have their ashes scattered. It is comforting to think that a place you have loved will be where your last remains lay. Most people choose a place associated with happy memories, a special event or a loved one.
On the flip side there are ashes being held all over the country because families don’t know what to do with them. It can feel like a big responsibility to decide on someone’s final resting place especially if they left no instructions or requests.
funeral magazine intend this as a guide and would like to stress that you should definitely contact the relevant landowner or local authority before proceeding.
We have looked at where to scatter ashes and will soon be adding map locations.
As long as you are the landowner or have the landowner’s permission you may scatter ashes. The advantage is that you are less likely to be disturbed by other people and will have time to disperse the ashes at your leisure.
Beauty spots are a common choice. Although most have no strict laws to prevent scattering ashes they do expect that you respect other visitors. Choose a quiet time when you will have some privacy and won’t feel rushed. Contact the relevant local authority or landowner before proceeding.
Hill or Mountain Summits
Due to the delicate ecological balance in these areas the phosphate in ashes can affect native plants so it is recommended that they are scattered away from other people, the summit and main tracks. There are different rules in Wales and Scotland so contact the relevant authority.
The Woodland Trust do allow ashes to be scattered in their woodland sites providing there is no formal ceremony.
There is no requirement for a licence to spread ashes in tidal coastal water in the UK. You may wish to scatter from the shoreline or from a boat (private or chartered). funeral magazine recommend that you put the ashes into a specially designed dissolvable urn before placing in the water. These will float for a while before they sink and break down. This allows time to reflect or say a few words and prevents the ashes from blowing back towards the boat which can be very distressing.
The designer of the iconic Pringles tube, Fred Baur, had some of his ashes buried in one!
It is acceptable to scatter ashes in a natural lake. The general rule is that they are scattered loose and are not contained in an urn. As with rivers no wreaths or man made materials should go in the water.
This is considered ‘acceptable’ as long as there are no buildings, people swimming or fishing nearby. The Environment Agency request that you choose a day when it is not windy and you are more than 1km upstream from an abstraction of water or drinking source. (Contact your local Environment Agency office to confirm) Ashes pose little threat of pollution but personal items, flowers or wreaths which contain plastics or metals are not allowed as these are a risk to river wildlife.
Scattering Ashes Abroad
There is no UK law which restricts taking ashes out of the country. However, check with the airline about how best to transport the ashes and the country you are traveling to. Rules and laws vary in each country so do get all the information before booking.
As we embrace the idea of a ‘celebration of life’ funeral companies are responding to requests from those who want to, literally, go out with a bang! Ashes can be incorporated into fireworks and be set of as part of a display or on their own. You can even arrange a rocket for self – firing that can be enjoyed more privately.
For those who have enjoyed a life of country pursuits you can now have some of your ashes turned into cartridges and fired off by your friends in a gun salute or small shoot.
Sports Ground or Club
Life long supporters of a team often request to have their ashes scattered on the pitch. If football, rugby, cricket or another sport has been a big part of your life it seems a natural choice. Each ground will have it’s own policy about ash scattering. Some provide a purpose built memorial area specifically for this but do contact the ground or club first.
Other unusual ways of scattering ashes include skydiving, hot air ballooning and space flights. These are not generally advertised but it’s always worth asking your local group, club or company to find out if it’s possible
There are a few other things to think about before making a final decision. Are family or friends likely to revisit the place where the ashes have been scattered? If so choose somewhere accessible. Is it a simple scattering of the ashes or will there be people gathered for a small ceremony? Obviously, privacy will be important so if it is a public place choose a time and date when it will be quiet.OkDon’t attempt to disperse ashes near people or on a windy day as they may blow onto you or others in the area.
These are the most common options for scattering ashes, there are many others as it is a very personal decision. Not everyone wishes to spread the ashes but prefer to store or keep them at home. There has recently, been a rising trend in having them made into a keepsake or memorial. For further information see our article Ashes To Art.