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What to do with ashes post cremation

Explore traditional and not so traditional ways of considering final resting places for a loved ones ashes

If you have chosen a cremation for your loved one you may be wondering what your options are when it comes to the final resting place for the ashes? Most crematoria will have a garden of remembrance where the ashes can be strewn, but many people will prefer a less formal location, perhaps one that holds special memories for the family and allows them to make remembrance visits part of holidays and expeditions. Explore the following methods of dealing with a loved-ones ashes.

UK law on scattering ashes
There is nothing in the Cremation Act 1930 that (by law) restricts people when disposing of ashes. So as no prohibitive law exists, the restriction arises from the morals of releasing ashes in any one particular area. Read on and find ideas of what to do with ashes post cremation.

Typical places for scattering ashes

Can ashes be scattered at sea?
Yes, for many people, scattering the ashes of a loved one in the sea can be a very comforting experience. No licence is required to spread ashes from the coastal waters of the United Kingdom. The use of a boat for such the scattering of ashes gives the following benefits:

  • The time is unlikely to be intruded upon
  • A ceremony can be undertaken without others intruding on the proceedings
  • More remote and special locations can be explored
  • The water will disperse the ashes, meaning the scattering of ashes can be placed collectively
  • The expanse of the sea gives serenity to the occasion

Can ashes be scattered at beaches?
A beach is a tempting choice – the dynamic waves and vast space beyond create a sense of release and freedom. We suggest choosing a quiet time and place. Sunset and sunrise can feel especially poignant.

Are there any rules in scattering ashes in beauty spots, hill tops or mountain tops?
Some beauty spots are sites of special scientific interest with delicately balanced eco-systems and this must be taken into consideration to avoid spoiling the characteristics that inspired your choice. Ben Nevis is one location where ashes can no longer be scattered. The peak of Ben Nevis is now a prohibited area for ashes scattering because the sheer volume of cremated remains has changed the pH of the soil, affecting plant life.

Are there rules for scattering ashes in the home or garden?
You don’t have to travel far to create a special place of remembrance. Your garden may be the perfect spot. Placing the ashes in a large planter with a beautiful shrub or tree allows you to keep your loved one close to home… and to move with you in the future.

What are the rules for scattering ashes on private land?
It is always best to seek a landowner’s permission to scatter ashes, and this makes sense if you have set your heart on a particular spot that you’d like to visit again, perhaps as a group.

Pure Cremation garden of remembrance
Is there such a thing? Information to follow

What are the rules with scattering ashes in rivers?
Inland water makes an equally good choice. Ashes can be placed in rivers but you should find a safe place to stand and be aware of wind direction so that the remains are carried away from you. Alternatively you can purchase biodegradable containers that can be placed in deeper water or floated on the surface from a riverbank or a boat.

Can ashes be scattered at sports venues?
Each sports organisation, club and venue have their own policies. There is an excellent guide at Scattering Ashes. Our advice is to contact your favourite sports club to enquire about their individual policy on scattering ashes.

However you decide to place the ashes there are so many options available.
Try to distribute them rather than dumping them in a pile – this way the remains will integrate into the soil more quickly and with lower environmental impact. You may instinctively know the perfect final resting place for your loved one’s ashes, other people will need more time to consider this, but it’s good to know that you can let your imagination roam far beyond the cemetery walls.

Modern ways of preserving the spirit of a loved one

Fireworks
Another option of scattering ashes is to combine with a fireworks display. This colorful remembrance compliments our direct cremations and allows families and friends to gather to celebrate the life of their loved ones.

Here are two businesses that offer this service:

Jewellery
There are a number of businesses that create jewellery from ashes. The creation of jewellery is becoming very popular with people as way of cherishing a loved one that has passed-on.

Further resources

Additional information about scattering ashes

Ashes can also be divided and so you can create multiple memorial locations – ideal for anyone who loved to travel or with connections to different destinations. Friends and family can all take part in the distribution and technology makes it easy for each to capture an image and log the locations for future reference.

Anyone taking ashes overseas should get advice from their funeral director. Some countries require special containers as well as particular sets of documentation. Always allow extra time for passing through airport security. A container that allows X-rays to pass through will make this easier.

A scatter tube is a simple but effective way to gently pour ashes as you walk along a pathway and make it easy to share this activity. They are also suitable for transporting the ashes in aircraft hand luggage

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