If you have recently lost a loved one who opted for a cremation or direct cremation funeral, you may be looking for meaningful locations to scatter their ashes.

The United Kingdom has an abundance of stunning locations that offer picturesque settings for scattering your loved one's ashes. However, before spreading ashes anywhere (unless on your own private property), it is important to understand the key principles of responsible scattering so you can ensure the location continues to thrive naturally and be a beautiful resting place.

In this blog, we will provide a complete guide to responsible scattering in the UK, with pointers and information from national conservation charities and land organisations.

Scattering Ashes Law, Cremation Ashes Regulations, and Permits in the UK

The law on scattering ashes in the UK is fairly relaxed. There is nothing explicit in the legislation to stop people from scattering ashes over land or water. However, you need to obtain the correct permissions from the landowners and relevant authorities.

National Trust (England) Policy on Scattering Ashes

The National Trust owns and preserves a wide range of scenic coastal and countryside locations for scattering ashes, such as the Dunster Castle and Gardens in Somerset, and Heddon Valley in Exmoor.

However, before scattering ashes in any of the National Trust locations, they have provided some information as follows:

“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, 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.

The Trust has a general policy not to allow green burials on our land, although we do receive a number of requests to permit this every year.”


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Scattering Ashes in English Heritage Sites

If your loved one was a history buff, scattering their ashes at an English heritage site such as the Silchester Roman City Walls and Amphitheatre is a great way to honour their memory.

English Heritage has said they do allow the scattering of ashes at their properties. However, there may be a cost, and it is also down to the individual site managers.

Once you have the correct permissions, here are some general tips on how to scatter ashes responsibly:

  • Scatter thinly over a wide area away from the main pathways.
  • Do not mark the ground in any way, e.g., with flowers, crosses, or large stones.
  • Do not plant any bulbs, flowers, or trees.
  • Choose a quiet moment when fewer people are likely to be around.

Woodland Trust and the Environment Agency on responsible scattering

  • Scatter thinly over a wide area away from the main pathways.
  • Do not mark the ground in any way, e.g. with flowers, crosses or large stones.
  • Do not plant any bulbs, flowers, or trees.
  • Choose a quiet moment when fewer people are likely to be around.
  • Your site should be more than 1km upstream of any abstraction of water. You can check this by phoning your local Environment Agency office.
  • Ashes should be spread as close to the surface of the water as possible, and you should avoid windy days so that ashes do not affect people living or working nearby.
  • Scatter the ashes at least three nautical miles from the coast, using a biodegradable urn.

For more help on scattering ashes, or arranging a direct cremation:

We hope this guide has helped you understand how to scatter your loved one’s ashes responsibly in the UK. If you need any further advice on this topic or are looking to arrange a direct cremationget in touch with our expert team today. We’re available whenever you need us and more than happy to help.

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