Memorials on the National Forest Estate

We manage many special places and landscapes – places that come to mean a great deal to many people. It is very natural to want to commemorate loved ones, their memory and their appreciation of these often wild places.

However, one of the main reasons that these places are treasured by so many, is precisely because they feel wild and natural. If we allowed people to place memorials, this feeling of wildness would soon be lost. We therefore ask people not to leave memorials in the forest – to respect the qualities that others have enjoyed and continue to enjoy.

Memorials that are placed, will be removed after a period of up to one month. Before this, a letter asking for its removal and giving our local district contact details will be affixed to the memorial, to enable the owners to remove it, before we take action ourselves.

Scattering ashes

Many people request their ashes to be scattered somewhere that was treasured by them, after cremation.

People often think that this practice leaves no lasting effect on the local environment and usually it doesn’t, however human remains are rich in calcium and phosphorus and frequent deposits in the same location can increase the concentrations of these elements. Some of the habitats we manage are particularly fragile, containing rare plants, so please do ask the local District Office first.

Please ensure that the ashes are scattered rather than left in a pile as this can be unpleasant for other visitors and also concentrates the build up of calcium and phosphorus into one place. Think about throwing them into the air on a windy day as this ensures they are distributed over a wide area, meaning that there is as little build up as possible. We respectfully ask you to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of other visitors who may be in the forest for very different reasons.

If you are leaving flowers, please make sure that you’re in a secluded spot, away from where other visitors go and that they are real flowers that will readily biodegrade back into the soil. Also make sure that all containers, wrappings and ties are removed from the site and disposed of responsibly.

Memorial benches

We also no longer agree to placement of memorial benches or other items on the forest estate. Memorial messages may again impact on other visitors’ appreciation of wild spaces and have also proved extremely difficult for us to manage, as benches need moving or replacing.

For any existing memorial benches that need replacing or moving, our staff will attempt to contact the families to explain our policy, prior to removal. If this does not prove possible, we sincerely regret any upset that removal may cause.

Making a donation towards a project

We don’t agree to planting of memorial trees but you may wish to make a contribution for a loved one to a wider project, helping us care for, or improve a site they particularly valued. Projects that we can offer will vary from site to site but may include tree planting schemes, enhancing a view or improved visitor facilities, to help others enjoy a special place.

Again, we regret that no attribution or memorial can be part of the project. Please contact your local District office.

Many thanks for your consideration and for helping us manage these special forests for future generations to enjoy.

More information

For more information on placing memorials, contact your local district office.