Final Resting Place for the Ashes

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Collecting the Ashes

The ashes will usually be ready for collection or delivery to you after 2 to 7 days.  If you prefer, you can give your funeral director written permission to collect the ashes on your behalf.

If the deceased has not made their wishes known, the next of kin will need to decide where the final resting place for the ashes should be. Some people take comfort in keeping the urn with them at home, either permanently or at least for a while until they are ready.

About the ‘Ashes’

When we thinks about the ashes, most of us imagine the fine powder left after a bonfire. In fact, cremated remains are much coarser than this. They are also sterile, with a high PH and very high levels of sodium. So if you are scattering them, it is important to think carefully about where this will take place. Make sure you do so responsibly, complying with rules and regulations.

Ashes can be mixed with other products, such as a specially blended soil, to make them more suitable for burial. This provides a better growing environment for surrounding plants and trees.

Where Can I Scatter or Place the Ashes?

Here is an overview of some of the things you might like to consider:

Scattering Ashes at Home or on Private Land

As long as you own the land, you can scatter ashes in your garden. Otherwise, you will need the landowner’s permission.

Plant a Tree

Ashes can be buried at the base of a tree that will grow and provide a wonderful memorial to a loved one. Make sure that you will be able to revisit the location if the land is not owned by you.

You may need to mix the ashes with a specially designed compost to ensure that they provide a suitable environment within which the tree can grow.

The National Trust, The Woodland Trust, English Heritage

These orgaisations allow the scattering of ashes at many of their sites, but permission must be sought beforehand. Please go to The Woodland TrustEnglish Heritage or The National Trust for more information.

Gardens of Remebrance

Ashes can be scattered or buried in crematoria Gardens of Remembrance. Memorials are not always permitted although a Book of Remembrance will usually be available and some have an urn wall (also called a columbarium) with memorial plaques.

To find out more, visit Funeral Locations Inspiration and Funeral Locations Providers.

Stone Barrows

Traditional stone barrows, nestled in the countryside, provide a beautiful place for a service and a wonderful resting place for the ashes. They are lovely, calm places to sit, reflect and to be close to your loved one.

Styles and facilities vary, but many offer individual, candle-lit niches with stone-carved coverings, hand-painted doors or stained-glass windows.

To find out more, visit Funeral Locations Inspiration and Funeral Locations Providers.


Some cemeteries have small plots where urns can be buried, with a plaque or memorial places nearby. Or the ashes can be buried in a family grave.

Rivers and Seas

Ashes can be scattered in rivers and tidal coastal waters, either from a boat or from the beach, but it is really important to do this responsibly.

Some people wash ashes out to sea through “beaching”, where shallow trenches are dug in the sand, maybe spelling out their loved one’s name or a personal message. The ashes are tipped into the trenches and family and friends wait until the remains are taken out to sea. Ideally this ceremony would take place early in the morning or later in the evening when the beach is empty.

There are also beautiful, biodegradable urns in many shapes (such as turtles) that can be placed in the water. They float for a short while, then slowly sink and dissolve.

To see more, please go to Coffins, Urns & Ashes Inspiration and Coffins, Urns & Ashes Providers.

Sporting Venues

Places such as racecourses, golf courses, stadiums and cricket pitches are popular, but you will need to ask the owner. If you wish to return to the site, make sure that you will be able to get access.

Ashes can cause damage to the soil, so restrictions about scattering are becoming more widespread.

Jewellery, Stones and Artwork

The ashes can be made into items such as jewellery and stones. There are lots of different options and this is a lovely way to remember someone and to keep them close by.

There is a beautiful selection of images in Personal Touches & Keepsakes Inspiration and Personal Touches & Keepsakes Providers, together with links through to the companies that create them.

Fireworks and Aerial Scatterings

For something more unusual, an ashes firework may be a dramatic choice.  Or take to the skies in a hot air balloon or specially designed drone or rocket.

Take a look at our Coffins, Urns & Ashes Inspiration page.

How whiteballoon Can Help

Whatever you choose, we urge you to do your homework and ensure that you don’t step over any legal or moral lines.

Our Inspiration sections have lots of images and ideas to inspire you. Also, we have a number of recognised and experienced Providers who will be happy to discuss your needs and give advice and guidance.

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