Here is our guide to help answer some of the common questions around scattering ashes.
Where can you scatter ashes?
In the UK, you can scatter the ashes of someone you love in a variety of open places. This can be in a garden of remembrance, in a green space, over water, or on private land.
Some people request to have their ashes scattered in a place that was close to their heart. Others may not leave instruction. It's also possible to scatter ashes in multiple places, if preferred.
Here are some examples of where you can scatter ashes:
In a churchyard, cemetery or natural burial ground
Over the sea, a river or body of water
In a national park or public space
On private land (back garden, sports ground or private farmland)
Do you need permission to scatter ashes?
In the UK, there's no explicit law against scattering ashes, as long as you get permission from the person who owns the land.
The scattering ashes laws & regulations in the UK state that you don't need permission to scatter ashes on your own land or over a body of water.
If you want to scatter the ashes over public or other private land, you'll need to request the permission from the landowner. That includes parks, commons, beaches, or private farmland and churchyards.
You don’t need to request permission to scatter ashes over a river or in the sea, but you should check the advice from the environmental agency first.
Scattering ashes on a family grave or in a cemetery
Not all cemeteries allow scattering ashes, so check with the cemetery directly for their rules. If you own a plot of land in the cemetery, you should be able to scatter ashes over a family grave. Your funeral director can help you to make these arrangements.
Some crematoriums and cemeteries allow scattering of ashes in designated areas.
Scattering ashes on public land or parks
To scatter ashes in a public park or green space, you'll need to request permission from the local council. Most local councils and park trusts, such as the National Trust, will allow this, so long as the environmental guidelines are followed.
Scattering ashes at sea or in rivers
It’s common in some religions, such as Sikhism, to scatter ashes in a body of flowing water. This is a popular option for many people, religious or not.
Whilst you don't need permission from a landowner to scatter ashes over water, there are some environmental regulations to consider:
Make sure the place you choose isn't near a fishery or marina
Check that the site is no less than 1km upstream from a water plant or reservoir
If possible, choose a day with calm weather so that ashes are not blown into neighbouring land or areas