The best places to scatter ashes
If you have recently lost a family member, loved one or friend, then creating a lasting memorial can be a little harder if they were cremated. With the lack of a physical location that comes with a burial, cremations often require a little bit of creative thinking to find a special place that can be visited or just somewhere meaningful as a final resting place.
Any crematorium in the UK will offer family members the ashes of the deceased. It’s not uncommon for people to keep the ashes at home or in a special place, so the person who has passed away can still be part of their lives. However, the scattering of ashes is also a popular way for the person to be returned to the earth, or to be given an extra-special send-off in a place that meant something to them.
If you’d like to scatter a loved one’s ashes, but aren’t sure what’s allowed or where to do it, then check out our quick guide and handful of ideas for some inspiration.
Scattering ashes and the law
In the UK, there aren’t any laws regarding the scattering of ashes, but if you choose to do so on private land then you must obtain permission. It’s fine to spread ashes in places like public beaches, parks or remote areas, but if your intended location is on private land, then you’ll need to ask permission first.
It’s also worth noting that spreading ashes in public often requires a bit of tactfulness, plus it’s often more respectful to spread ashes with a bit of privacy, so busy public locations can be problematic. A small sprinkle may be more suitable in certain scenarios, or heading back to busier spots when things have quietened down might be a better option.
The best locations to spread ashes
The coast, beach or into the sea
Requests to be buried at sea are more common than you think but the logistics and costs involved can be very prohibitive, so the next best thing could be simply scattering ashes at the beach, near the coast or actually into the sea. Choose a nice viewpoint, a stretch of coastline or some quiet rockpools to release either some or all of the ashes.
A top tip when it comes to releasing ashes at the seaside is to be wary of the wind. Try and choose a calm day and make sure both you and any attendees stand upwind, so that the ashes are carried onto the beach or out to sea. Remember, less busy locations are always best when it comes to spreading ashes.
We’re pretty lucky in the UK that many of us have easy access to wooded areas and the countryside. Choosing a nature area or woodland to spread ashes is a popular option, as secluded areas are fairly easy to find, plus things like trees or milestones can act as a memorial when it comes to marking anniversaries or just visiting to say ‘hello’. Remember to ask permission if the wooded area is on private land.
The crematorium or cemetery
Many crematoriums have a peaceful garden or special area designed for spreading ashes, so remember to ask when you’re arranging the funeral. Lots of cemeteries also offer this option, so if the person has friends or relatives in a particular cemetery, you could scatter ashes close by. Just remember to ask whoever is in charge for permission.
If your loved one was a cricket, football, rugby or other sports fan, then why not give them one last trip to the big game? Many stadiums, arenas and sports grounds offer special ceremonies where ashes can be scattered on the pitch, or dedicated memorial areas close to the field of play. Get in touch with stadium management to see if it’s possible to scatter some ashes, but be aware that some sports clubs may charge a fee.
Scattering ashes doesn’t need to be complicated. If the person was a keen gardener, or just enjoyed spending time sitting outside in the sunshine, then what better place to scatter a few ashes than out of the back door! You don’t need to ask permission, plus they’d definitely have appreciated being left to relax in their favourite spot.
If a pint or glass of wine was always on the cards, then the local could be a fitting final resting place! Pub beer gardens are becoming a common location for scattering ashes, but landlords may be open to smaller urn or vial being displayed behind the bar – just ask, as they may be more than willing to welcome an old regular back into their pub!
Parks are ready-made beauty spots that could act as a great resting place, especially if the person enjoyed a day spent wandering around the lake or relaxing on a park bench. It may make sense to choose a quieter day or time to scatter ashes in popular parks for added privacy, so consider this if you intend on saying a few meaningful words without being disturbed by other members of the public.
Hopefully these ideas should give you a starting point when it comes to choosing the ideal spot to lay a loved one to rest. If you need any further help or guidance when it comes to choosing the funeral itself, what to say when it comes to readings or just some advice on coping with the loss of a loved one, then don’t forget to check out our advice section. From information on our packages to our grief helpline which is open to anyone struggling with loss, it’s a great starting point if you suddenly need to arrange a funeral, or are simply planning ahead for the future!