Do's and Don'ts of Scattering 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.

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.

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. 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.

Wherever you decide to place the ashes 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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... 

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Monday, 18 December 2017

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