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Planting a Memorial Tree

Memorial Trees UK

Planting a memorial tree is a great idea. It provides an focus for remembrance, it represents life going on and the passage of time.

Things to consider:

  • You should plant a memorial tree that is native to the UK e.g. an Ash, Beech or Sessile Oak.
  • Consider the size and shape of the tree make sure reflects the landscape eg Spruce in Scotland.
  • If you are planting in your own garden use Living Memorial this is 100% effective.
  • Plant one that encourages wildlife eg Birch is a good all-round tree attracting many species of birds and insects.
  • You may also wish to consider the symbolism e.g. Rowan and Hazel trees hold a special place in British history and were used used in ancient druid/pagan ceremonies.
  • Consider how long the tree will they live for e.g. the Yew tree can live for a 1000 years, but the berries are poisonous so this is not often seen in hedgerows or fields.
  • How big will the tree get, and do you have the space. An oak may make a wonderful symbolic gesture but if it is too big the space, it may need to be removed which is not the objective.
  • A number of companies operate memorial woodlands – they will plant and maintain a tree for you. Some of these woodland sites are for burial, some for ashes and some for both.
  • If you are paying someone else to do it, check – is it your tree or is someone planting it anyway and you are paying for it to be dedicated? It depends what you want, but it isn’t the same thing. Generally a simple way to tell is the price – if it is your tree, planted on a space for you it will cost in the region of £500+. If it is a dedication it will cost significantly less. You should check what you are getting for that money – replacement tree if it is necessary; access to the site; guarantee it will not be harvested on maturity.
  • Here is a lovely site that we work with in the Lake District – Memorial Tree Lake District

Committal of Ashes to the Sea by the Royal Navy

The Naval Chaplaincy Service carries out Committals at Sea Ceremonies for all former Service personnel.

The Royal Naval Chaplaincy Service undertakes committals of ashes at sea from our Base Ports in Scotland on the Clyde (Faslane), Plymouth (Devonport) and Portsmouth.

There is no charge for the committal.

Eligibility is determined on a case by case basis, the deceased should be:

Royal Navy Personnel.
There’s no length of service required, but they do need a short Service History and Service Number for checking with the records.
Different bases have different eligibility.
This is the Portsmouth number (we do not have contact details for the other two)

Telephone –
02392 723000
– ask to be put through to the chaplaincy

Ash containers / urn?

We make urns to the Royal Nays specification: Royal Navy Committal Urn, we are lead to believe however the Chaplaincy if cost is an impediment they would accept these water urns. You are not required to purchase these through Scattering Ashes, your Funeral Director may be able to assist, although we are we are happy to supply them should you wish.

Cricket Grounds

Scattering ashes at cricket grounds

Listed below are the Cricket clubs that we have asked and had a response from concerning the spreading of cremation ashes, we will add more in due course:

Edgbaston: Sadly, they do not be allowing ashes spread on the ground.

Headingley Stadium: do not permit the scattering of ashes on any of the turfed playing surfaces. However they do have a memorial garden where you can scatter a token amount of ashes (so the soil can be preserved). It has seasonal flowers and plants in the garden. This is priced from £150 to help with the lifetime upkeep of the garden and a notice in the memorial book. For more information call
0113 2033893
(Correct 9th March 2017).

Lords: The M.C.C. does allow the scattering of ashes, as a private arrangement (for members), on the Harris Memorial Garden next to the Pavilion. Requests are accommodated after the cricket season, during the winter months from 1st October until 31st March.

There is no charge for this service, however, the Club would be grateful for a donation to the M.C.C. Foundation – a charitable trust who helps cricket clubs in the U.K. and abroad. They also require a rough idea of numbers and details of any vehicles your group will be arriving in, so that they inform our gate staff accordingly.

Immediately after it has been read, the ashes would be scattered. Those present would then stand for a minute or so as a sign of respect before leaving the garden.

Old Trafford: This is something they only do during the closed season (ie October-March) and we usually scatter the ashes on the outfield near to one of the stands.

There has been some discussion that they may have a memorial garden in the near future – Old Trafford is due to undergo substantial redevelopment work in the next two years, and it might not be feasible to use the re-laid outfield after that. In other words, they will continue to scatter ashes, but they can’t say exactly where.
Generally it is something they only do for people who have association with the club, eg former players, officials, Lancashire Members and supporters.

The scattering is performed in conjunction with the Club’s chaplain, who would deal with requests put through to him by the Club.

Trent Bridge: They allow ashes to be scattered at Trent Bridge. Of course, we have to work around the cricket season when matches are being played at the ground, and also what functions are being held here during the year. Sunday, particularly, is a popular day to choose as, generally, there are no events on the ground, out of season. Saturday, too, is a good day, although there are more likely to be weddings or lunches here, but we can work around those so that scattering doesn’t take place whilst people are celebrating with friends and family. Email:

Horse Racing Venues

Scattering Ashes at Horse Racing Tracks and Circuits

The following horse racing circuits have provided us with their policy on scattering ashes, the information is kept as up-to-date as possible but beware they do change from time to time and we may not be aware of that:

Aintree: Home of the Grand National – It is possible to scatter funeral ashes at the racecourse. They ask people to contact Derek Thompson on
0151 522 2937
, who will arrange a time for this to take place at a convenient part of the racecourse.

Ascot: Home of Royal Ascot – They allow cremated ashes to be scattered at Ascot, provided it doesn’t coincide with a racing event.

Cheltenham: Home of the Gold Cup – They do allow the scattering of ashes at Cheltenham Racecourse. There is no charge however there are restrictions as to when they can do this. They don’t permit it during race meetings or either the day before or the day after as that is when the track is being attended to. In March when they have their major Festival meeting they don’t permit the week before and about 2 or three days after that meeting. contact:

Chester: Scattering ashes at Chester Racecourse is done on a request basis, you must contact the course if you wish to do this. The only area where they allow the scattering of ashes is the open course area which is the public ground in the centre of the course.

Goodwood: Chichester, Sussex. Sadly not quite so Glorious, in their words ” [scattering ashes] is not something Goodwood can do any more.”

Towcester: No comment – contact course

Newton Abbot Races: Do allow the scattering of ashes at the Racecourse but generally it is for those who have been patrons of the racecourse form many years.

Sandown: allow ashes to be scattered (by appointment). The best way to arrange this is to contact Sandown at or by phone on 01372 464348. They will be put in touch with the right person to arrange an appropriate time.

Stratford-upon-Avon: No comment – contact course

Windsor: It is possible to scatter cremation ashes at the Windsor racecourse but not on the track itself, seating benches can also be dedicated. Please contact Gemma Charrington
01753 498 440
, who will arrange a time for this to take place at a convenient part of the racecourse.

York: Are very supportive of such things and have a great attitude. Funeral ashes tend to be scattered in an area near the finishing post. And you can have a memorial bench in the enclosure too if you so choose. Just contact the club.

Football Clubs

Premiership & Championship and FA Football Clubs

Dates refer to when the advice was given and is liable to change so please contact club to get permission before organising a scattering ceremony. The dates at the end are when we were advised of the policy, if you have any more current information please let us know so we can help others.

In alphabetical order (wouldn’t want to show any allegiance!)

Arsenal – ashes are not interred or scattered at Emirates stadium.

Aston Villa – regrettably, the club is no longer in a position to accept requests for the scattering of ashes. We no longer have areas of Villa Park that are suitable for ashes to remain, and we would not want to scatter ashes in locations that would not be fitting or appropriate. Likewise we are faced with the same issues at Bodymoor Heath. To recognise the passing of our fans and former players, the Club is looking at other fitting ways to pay tribute to them. We will be publishing something in the near future on our website,which will provide the details of how families and friends can remember a loved one. 16/06/10

Blackburn Rovers – ash scattering can be arranged through the clubs Chaplin although not on the pitch, they have a lovely garden of remembrance adjacent to the ground near the river. 29/06/10

Blackpool – The club don’t actually allow scattering of ashes but we allow the ashes to be buried at the side of the pitch. 14/06/10

Birmingham City – The club organise this service through the co-op funeral service
01543 421389
. They allow a ceremony on most non match days, they can provide for largish groups, it is assisted by a funeral director, refreshment and a room can be provided. Because this is arranged by a funeral director there is a small charge, but this is very reasonable, at the time of writing this was £60. 29/06/10

Bolton Wanderers – They offer a really comprehensive approach which has to be applauded – they allow the scattering of ashes, it is organised through the club’s chaplain, they produce a leaflet on the subject which you need to contact the club for. Also, fans can have there names memorialised in a walkway and book of remembrance. 29/07/10

Bournemouth Football Club’s Vitality Stadium – Not possible. Nor do they have a memorial garden. 15/7/17

Brighton and Hove Albion – They are no longer able to intern ashes. At the time of the stadium opening they had a limited number of plots within our memorial garden but all the plots have now been taken. We are also unable to scatter any ashes within the stadium. 18/05/17

Bristol City – don’t allow ashes to be scattered or buried at the stadium 21/01/20

Burnley – Unfortunately it is not their policy to allow scattering/burying of ashes at Turf Moor. 11/8/14

Chelsea – the club don’t offer the service, [they] have too many games and are unable to commit to doing it. 14/06/10

Crystal Palace – They do have a garden at Selhurst Park here where ashes can be scattered. We do not allow the ashes to be buried. Contact Sandra West,
. There is no access to the garden at this time due to major works going on in the stadium. 11/8/10

Doncaster – have a Memorial Garden 1/9/12

Everton – The club has for a number of years, since the eighties, allowed supporters to bury the ashes of their loved ones around the perimeter of the pitch, we would dig a hole approx. 300mm x 300mm x 300mm where the grass meets the perimeter track and they could bury the Cask or just sprinkle the ashes in, the soil and piece of Turf would then be placed on top. We also allowed the fitting of a small Plaque to the Upstand in memory if they wished. [They] did a few years ago reach the end in that we have gone all around the Pitch and can no longer offer this service, but have an arrangement with the Vicar of St. Luke’s Church which is adjacent to the Stadium and indeed if you know Goodison Park forms a prominent part of the Stadium, were he allows Ashes to be spread across his Memorial Garden, that is at the rear of the Church and backs onto the Stadium. 16/06/10

Fulham – The club do not offer supporters the opportunity to scatter ashes at Craven Cottage and we are currently looking to an alternative. 16/06/10

Hull City – They do allow it. The ashes are normally scattered on a weekday as long as they don’t have any matches that day. 26/09/14

Leicester City – (aka the Foxes) the powerhouse of East Midlands football secondly only to the might Cobblers in this part of the world a have a garden of remembrance for their fans. I am pleased to say that they offer a couple of options, a plaque and / or scattering. You can choose to have plaque which has a personal inscription made from blue acrylic this is then affixed to their memorial stone.

Scattering of ashes in the clubs garden of remembrance needs to be booked in advance, at least 48 hours before the desired date. Although they can be carried out in any time, including weekends as long as it does not clash with a match day. They can be administered by either a Funeral Director or our Club Chaplain if he is available. All scattering of ashes need to take place in the centre circle of pebbles in either of the gardens.

Liverpool– The club is no longer allowing the scattering of ashes, there are plans to open a memorial garden but no firm date as at this time. Please contact the club directly as Scattering Ashes can not do this on your behalf. 17/09/14

Manchester City – There is a Memorial Garden available at the Stadium for families of fans to spread ashes and take time to remember. This garden is located outside Entrance S at The Colin Bell Stand. The Garden has been created by volunteers, including staff at the Club and local businesses. The Garden is maintained by staff at the Club and there is no charge for the use of the garden. To arrange a time to spread ashes or hold a short service, please call Reception on
0161 438 7601

All respect will be given to those who visit the Memorial Garden but please be aware that it is a working Stadium. Flowers and cards ONLY may be left at the garden. It is not possible for any kind of permanent memorials/plates or personal plantings. If left, they will be removed. MCFC will regularly clear the garden of faded flowers and cards etc and will as necessary, dig in ashes. We can also arrange for our Club Reverend to attend and hold a short service if he is available for your requested date. If you would be interested in this, please contact Reception and we can try to arrange this for you. The Memorial Garden is an on-going development and its layout and content will be reviewed on a regular basis. The views of those using the garden are always welcome.

There is also a Remembrance book that is located at the main reception which visitors are welcome to sign with a message of condolence. Please contact Reception if you have any questions or wish to arrange a date to use the Memorial Garden to lay ashes. 28/06/10

Manchester United – The club have asked that we make no comment. Should you wish to pursue this, you would need to contact the Museum and Tour centre at Old Trafford. 29/06/10

Newcastle United – They do not allow families to scatter ashes at St James’ Park. 29/07/10

Queens Park Rangers – The best club for honouring fan’s wishes by a long way. The procedure starts when you contact the club chaplain, Rev’d Bob Mayo (details below). He will arrange a time with the club for you, and up to 20 others, to come to Loftus Road for a special ceremony of remembrance. It may happen any weekday between 9.30am – 4.30pm, subject to the availability of the stadium.

When the day arrives, you bring about a coffee-jar’s worth of the ashes to Reception on South Africa Road where you will be welcomed by the chaplain. You will be taken to the players’ dressing room where you can look around and take photographs. You will be led down the tunnel and taken pitch-side (walking on the pitch itself is not permitted). The chaplain will lead you round to the goalposts at the Loftus Road end, where he will get you to lay the ashes on a small tray in the vicinity of the goal line, which he will have prepared. Over the next few minutes, he will encourage you and any others to recall together one or two stories and memories, perhaps linked to of your loved one’s keenness for QPR. This is followed by a couple of short prayers, ending with a moment’s quiet. You then return to the tunnel, stopping for photographs in the dugout, then through to Reception where the chaplain will say goodbye.

Once you have left, the chaplain will gather the open tray of ashes and look after them until the pitch is dug up and re-seeded at the end of the season – in late May. They are scattered carefully and respectfully, together with other ashes which have been looked after during the season. Again, please note that we can only accept about a coffee-jar’s worth of the ashes. There is no charge made by the club or chaplain for this service, and it’s also worth knowing that regrettably the club has no parking to offer. 12/11/15

The chaplain’s details are: Rev Dr Bob Mayo, Vicar of St Stephen and St Thomas, email

Reading F C – Are unable to have ashes scattered on the pitch at the Madejski Stadium. They do however have a garden of remembrance at the stadium where supporters are more than welcome to use at any time, details of which can be found on their website.

Sheffield Wednesday Football Club based in Hillsborough in the north of the city have a designated area is directly outside the ground on the south stand bridge for the purposes of scattering ashes of the their fans and supporters. It is outside the ground rather than inside so family and friends can pay tributes at any given time should they so require.

Southampton – Unfortunately they no longer offer the facility to scatter/bury ashes at St Mary’s 11/8/14

Stoke City – Unfortunately they no longer allow scattering of ashes at The Britannia Stadium. 28/06/10

Sunderland – The club allow ashes to be buried at the stadium for SAFC supporters at certain times in the year. Dates need to be booked with the club. 16/06/10

Swansea City – They don’t allow fans ashes to be scattered inside the stadium. However, there is a small memorial around the Ivor Allchurch statue outside the ticket office. 11/8/14

Tottenham Hotspur – regretfully [the club] do not permit the scattering or internment of ashes at the White Hart Lane Stadium. This is due to the chemical reaction caused with the ashes and mixture of fertilisers and pesticides used on the playing surface cause a level of burning to the polypropylene system used to strengthen the pitch and can cause disease to the playing surface. The pitch is also “scraped” clean at the end of every season, so any remains that were to be scattered would be invariably lost at this time. 31/10/16

West Bromwich Albion – The club have a garden of remembrance at The Hawthorns which is where ashes can be scattered and small plaques left for loved ones that have passed away. The garden is situated in the corner of the East stand car park. Ashes can be scattered at any time (other than match days) and the family is welcome to have a minister or alike present if they so wish. The garden is currently being extended at present, with all works expected to be completed by the middle of July 2010. We do not permit the scattering of ashes on the pitch. 16/06/10

West Ham – West Ham [have] stopped scattering ashes on the pitch a number of year go, [they] did bury ashes in a memorial garden at the ground but have stopped as it is full. 18/06/10

Wigan – The club do not permit scattering of ashes at the DW Stadium. 16/06/10

Wolverhampton Wanderers – They don’t allow any scattering of ashes here at the ground. They do however, have a small memorial garden outside the stadium where a rose can be planted by the family. 11/8/14

And finally…

Wembley Stadium – They do not offer this service. 29/07/10

Historical Sites

Scattering ashes at historic sites


Those that say YES, if..
National Trust England and Wales – states: “The National Trust does not have a formal policy on this but is happy to consider requests on the basis that there are no environmental problems (ie. possible contamination of water courses or sources, no accompanying permanent or indeed ephemeral markers), that it is not against any wishes that may have been expressed by a donor [of the property], and that the act of scattering the ashes is done discreetly and in private with no interference with others’ enjoyment of a property. We would also not expect that visitors to the property could see any visual presence of ashes. If these conditions can be met and subject to local arrangements being made with the General Manager or Property Manager at the appropriate property, consent can be granted.”

National Trust for Scotland – states: “The Trust has no formal policy which would cover all situations across the wide range of properties that we have responsibility
for in Scotland. The Trust is respectful of peoples’ wishes but must have regard for a wide range of issues including the environmental impact on soils, plants, rivers and streams.” Broad guidelines are available to Trust Managers and any proposal or arrangement for the scattering of ashes or any associated ceremonies should be discussed and agreed with individual property managers beforehand. If proposals are deemed acceptable, the advice given may include specific locations and appropriate times of day with regard for other planned events and consideration for other visitors. For the avoidance of doubt, there would be a presumption against the erection of any sort of memorial, however temporary.”

English Heritage – states: “It is possible to scatter the ashes of friends and loved ones at our properties if you can contact the property in question in advance and speak to the manager to arrange this. It will be an out-of-hours visit, or, if this is not possible, then during usual visiting hours. There may be an extra charge, for example, if there is an extra staffing cost involved, however this would very much depend upon each individual site and the managers for those sites would be able to advise further. You would not need to be a member of English Heritage to arrange this. This would apply to all sites, including Stonehenge. It is not possible to scatter ashes within the Stone Circle itself, however it is possible to scatter in other areas of the site. Similar restrictions may apply at other sites with regard to where on the site it is OK to scatter, however this will also depend upon each individual area and can be arranged with each individual manager.”

Cadw (Welsh Heritage) – Cadw looks after 130 historic Welsh sites and its policy and procedure states: “Written requests (by letter or email – please see details below) to be made to Cadw, with basic information including which site the family/friends wish to carry out the scattering, and on what date (if they have one in mind). You need to write to Cadw who [sic] check dates of events etc. at the location. They then clear the request with the Environmental Health Officer of the relevant local authority. If everything is OK, there are two final conditions:

1. There must be no disturbance of the ground and

2. The scattering to be carried out discreetly to ensure privacy for the family/friends, and also out of courtesy for our other visitors.”

Historic Scotland – states:

Scattering of ashes is permitted at many historic sites in our care, however it should be noted that no permanent marker will be allowed. Also, due to the number of requests received, scattering of ashes at Edinburgh Castle or Stirling Castle may only be granted if the deceased had a military connection to the Castle.

If you would like further information on scattering of ashes at any of our sites, please contact the Factoring Team in writing at Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SH, by telephone on

0131 668 8786
or by e-mail at

h the request.”

War Graves Commission – states: “Interment of remains in a designated war grave, owned by the Commission, is restricted only to the war casualty’s spouse, siblings or children. Once it has been established that the initial criteria has been met, those that wish to arrange for the interment of the ashes would have to apply to the War Graves Commission formally in writing. This correspondence would need to give the details of the casualty whose burial we record and the relationship of the recently deceased to that casualty.”

They make the point that the rules regarding the importation and interment of ashes vary greatly from country to country and, for this reason, they always recommend that, once the Commission has given permission, it is advisable to seek advice on the transportation of ashes, before making any further arrangements or travel plans.

“Each case is dealt with on an individual basis. Please inform your future enquiries to contact the Commission first regarding any requests to inter ashes in a Commission grave.”

The Commission will only allow ashes to be interred. Scattering ashes at the grave is not permitted.


Those that say NO, sorry

Royal Parks: We would prefer that you don’t. These remains contain high levels of minerals and other elements which, over time, can sterilise the soil and leach into watercourses, disrupting the delicate natural balance.

The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent’s Park with Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James’s Park. –

Jane Austen’s House: While we understand many admirers of Jane Austen would love to have ashes laid here, it is something we do not allow.

Shakespeare House Museum: Unfortunately the trust that runs the properties in Stratford upon Avon has informed us that ‘[They] do not allow the scattering of ashes at any of the Shakespeare properties.’

Who gives you permission to scatter ashes on their land?

Who gives you permission to scatter ashes on their land?

You need permission to scatter ashes if you wish to do it on someone else’s land.

Those that give permission to scatter ashes on their property

National Parks

It is up to the individual park authority. However, as the North Yorkshire Park says – There is no hard and fast rule. You should start by asking the person who owns the land on which you would like to spread the ashes.

The National Park Authorities don’t own the land they are like a planning authority. As they say – Not ours – but ours to look after.

The National Parks:

England – Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the South Downs and the Broads which has equivalent status to a National Park.
Wales – Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia.
Scotland – Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

National Trust

“The National Trust does not have a formal policy on this but is happy to consider requests on the basis that there are no environmental problems (i.e. possible contamination of water courses or sources, no accompanying permanent or indeed ephemeral markers), that it is not against any wishes that may have been expressed by a donor [of the property], and that the act of scattering the ashes is done discreetly and in private with no interference with others enjoyment of a property. We would also not expect that visitors to the property could see any visual presence of ashes. If these conditions can be met and subject to local arrangements being made with the General Manager or Property Manager at the appropriate property, consent can be granted.” –

Royal Society of the Protection of Bird (RSPB) reserves

Yes, they are open to people scattering at their sites, but it is down to the sensitivity of the site, this is the main page for the RSPB

Woodland Trust Property

Yes, theoretically but with a lot of exclusions – Woodland Trust

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens and Wakehurst gardens permit the scattering of ashes. They ask for a donation for the upkeep of the gardens. The main page on Kew Gardens

National Trust for Scotland

“The Trust has no formal policy which would cover all situations across the wide range of properties that we have responsibility for in Scotland. The Trust is respectful of peoples’ wishes but must have regard for a wide range of issues including the environmental impact on soils, plants, rivers and streams.

Broad guidelines are available to Trust Managers and any proposal or arrangement for the scattering of ashes or any associated ceremonies should be discussed and agreed with individual property managers beforehand. Contact details are available on the Trust’s website. If proposals are deemed acceptable, the advice given may include specific locations and appropriate times of day with regard for other planned events and consideration for other visitors.

For the avoidance of doubt there would be a presumption against the erection of any sort of memorial, however temporary.” –

Wildlife Trust for Scotland

They are open to people scattering at their sites but people would need to contact the individual site. Here is the main page for Wildlife Trust for Scotland

Those that don’t permission to scatter ashes on their property

Peaks in Scotland and Wales

Welsh conservationists and The Mountaineering Council of Scotland have asked bereaved relatives to avoid the most popular sites and even to bury ashes rather than scatter them. They feel that it has a significant impact on plant life. It has been recommended that, when considering a chosen spot for the disposal of your ashes, people should avoid iconic mountain tops, by opting instead for a corrie, a certain point along a ridge or beside a particular tree on the lower slopes of a mountain.

Here is what the Ben Nevis Partnerships says: “While no attempt will be made to dissuade anyone from scattering human ashes on Ben Nevis, you should try to choose an area away from the summit cairn, and also away from the north face on which a number of alpine plants struggle to survive.”

Royal Parks

States: “We would prefer that you don’t. These remains contain high levels of minerals and other elements. This, over time, can sterilise the soil and leach into watercourses. This disrupts the delicate natural balance.”

Jane Austen’s House

They do not permit the scattering of ashes in the property or gardens


Scattering Ashes at Sea on a River or a Lake

Scattering Ashes at Sea on a River or a Lake

Scattering ashes at sea, on a river or lake is great way to give a loved one a really nice send-off and research suggests that those who scatter in this way find the presence of water, after that, very comforting.

Scattering Ashes in the SEA – the Law
If you choose the sea then you should aware that:

For the UK you do not need a licence to spread ashes in tidal coastal water. In coastal waters you will need to comply with Environment Agency Guidance.

For the USA you need to go out three nautical miles and then inform the EPA – Guidance
Scattering Ashes on a RIVER or LAKE

If you choose a river you should be aware that the English Environment Agency say ‘It is acceptable’ with some provisos (download this leaflet – Scattering Ashes on rivers). Basically you need to look out for others and don’t put anything in the river that will not degrade eg plastics.

Where to scatter

You can choose to scatter the ashes from a boat or the shoreline / riverbank. The choice is yours and each has it advantages:

From a boat: if you have access to a boat you can do it yourself . If not, we can help, we work with a number of boat companies that operate across the UK and Ireland. Here is a map of them – Boats on a Map

Advantages of a boat: the main advantage is that it is totally private; you can reach more inaccessible places; it is easier to put the ashes into the water; and it is likely to feel more of an occasion.

From the waters edge: on a beach, a bridge or the riverbank– all make good venues, but be mindful of others and tide times, it is best to scatter the ashes below the tide line: tide times

Advantages of a shore line: no additional cost, no restrictions on numbers; you choose your own timings and duration, no chance of seasickness!

Water Urns

If scattering ashes on water, particularly from a boat you may wish consider getting an water urn – these are containers that hold the ash and biodegrade completely in water. There are two main reasons for doing this:

The water is always breezy and the finer ash particles can get caught in the gusts and very often blow back and stick to the side of the boat.
There are a range of water urns which fall into two main categories, some float a short while allowing you time for you to reflect and say a few words, while others sink immediately which are good if there is a specific spot you would like the scattering to take place. You can go to our page water urns here. You may also wish to cast rose petals which is a nice touch when scattering over the waves. To pass on final farewells we can provide Promises – notelets made from specialist paper that dissolve in the water allowing you to say those final words.

How to scatter ashes on a BEACH

If you choose a beach the most appropriate option might be Trenching or Beaching. If you pick the correct time and beach, it can be great, we would suggest a sandy beach and spot below the high tide line, carve a groove a shape or symbol in sand such as a heart shape or their initials. A gardening paddle hoe works well for this. Sprinkle the ashes into the trench, cover if you wish and wait until the tide washes the ashes it away.


Don’t do it above the high tide line, if you are not sure where this is, look for the line of seaweed and debris near the top of the beach
Try to stay away from the beach entry / exit point.
Keep the urn fairly low, below waist height
Make sure party members are up wind if there is a breeze
You can add even more solemnity to it by choosing sunrise or sunset and you are less likely to be disturbed


How much does it cost to add an Ashes Register listing?

There is no charge to add a listing which will detail:

  • name
  • lifedates
  • location of ashes
  • epitaph

Alternatively you can upgrade to a Memorial Listing for a one-off payment of £5.99.

Memorial Listings provide a full Memorial Wall to commemorate your loved one with Messages, Readings, Photographs and video as well as the ability to link to other listings and create a details family tree.

The various services provided for each type of listing are detailed on our How it Works pages.

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.

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.

Private Land

  • 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.

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 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.

Historic Sites

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.

Beauty spots

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.


‘It is acceptable’ says the Environment Agency – but don’t put anything in the river that will not degrade e.g. plastics.

The Sea

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.

  • Cliff edge
  • 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.

What is the law on scattering ashes?

The law on scattering ashes in the UK is fairly relaxed. There is nothing explicit in the legislation to stop people scattering ashes over land or water. However, you need the landowner’s permission.

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