Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Exploring Arnos Vale Cemetery


On the weekend, I wanted to make the most of Saturday's sunshine, so headed to a place I've been meaning to explore for years: Arnos Vale Cemetery. 

The cemetery was opened in 1839 and was built to echo classical Greece. It has many listed monuments and buildings and is a great example of Victorian gothic.* 

I passed it countless times as a child, when it was completely overgrown and neglected. Thankfully, over recent years, a charity trust has been set up and a lot of the cemetery has been restored. There remains much to be done though - many parts of the grounds are still overgrown, with hundreds of graves covered in ivy, trees and other plants. 












It was interesting to note that many of the older gravestones were crosses - perhaps when religion played a much bigger part in people's lives. 

Some areas of the cemetery made me feel like I was on a Buffy set - wonky headstones, I even saw a couple of graves that had deteriorated so much they were open in places, eek!








Some parts are completely devastated - smashed graves and toppled headstones. It was really sad to see - all those people, who were once loved and laid to rest there, now reduced to an overgrown, broken, forgotten plot. It was both moving and upsetting to see. I'm glad work is being done to gradually restore the whole cemetery - surely that's the least these people deserve.





In addition to the many crosses, there were lots of super interesting headstones and monuments. Here are some of my favourites. How about that creeepy little girl and headless child?! Yikes!













Some of my favourite shots are of wooded areas, where I'd be looking at the trees and suddenly spot a headstone peeking out amongst the undergrowth.






It kind of gave me a glimpse of what would happen to the world if humans disappeared and nature was left to take over once more.


Spanning over forty-five acres, Arnos Vale is huge. I probably didn't even see half of it. You could easily spend several hours exploring all the hidden corners and paths - I definitely want to go back when it's a bit warmer. There is a café onsite, so you can make a pitstop to refuel!

The cemetery trust is working hard to make Arnos Vale a place of remembrance, celebration and community, with a variety of events being held there - guided tours, fitness classes, arts and crafts days, music and theatre, you can even get married there! There is whole bunch of information on its history and the current activities, on the cemetery's website - check it out here

If you're ever in the Bristol neck of the woods, I highly recommend a visit to Arnos Vale Cemetery.





Have you ever explored an old cemetery, or do you find them too creepy?
Are there any of note near you?

xx





All images used are taken by and are the property of Tiny Grey Cat, unless otherwise credited. The use of any image from this blog without express permission is strictly prohibited.

* Info from www.arnosvale.org.uk

14 comments:

  1. Wow beautiful pictures, especially that last one - stunning! I love graveyards, they're so peaceful, spooky yet beautiful!

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    1. Yes, that's it - a peaceful place for contemplation :) Thanks, hon! x

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  2. That's a beautiful looking cemetery. I find that they're such peaceful places. I love the photos you've taken too. Lisa

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I could've spent ages wandering around - must go back! x

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  3. So beautiful! I'm a big fan of cemeteries and this looks perfect. I have some posts about the cemeteries I've visited, actually!

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  4. Wow - what beautiful pictures! Haunting though. And I chuckled when you said that you felt like you were on a Buffy set.

    I'm always fascinated by old cemeteries to see the art work and phrasing on old stones. It's interesting to see the differences between then and now. I love the idea of this place being used for so many different things - from tours to crafts to weddings. It's a wonderful way to celebrate life while still remembering.

    x Kathryn
    Through the Thicket

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    1. Thanks, lovely! Hehe, I'm such an obsessive Buffy fan - if I even see a pointy stick when I'm out walking, it makes me think "Ooh, that would make a good stake!" ;) xx

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  5. It looks so creepy! I used to visit a few cemeteries when I was younger but it only looked slightly overgrown in places. I had loved looking at the names, dates and phrases on the stones. Though the ones about babies were too depressing :/

    I had found a family of graves hidden between large trees and you had to crawl in between one tiny opening to even get to it. It was sad!

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    1. Yes - the baby and children's graves are so sad :( Being there really made me appreciate every little thing about being alive - the sun on my face, the breeze through the trees. I think that's why I like them - the contrast of life and death and the appreciation it brings x

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  6. Fabulous pictures and I agree, Arnos Vale is a fascinating place. We visited when we were Gromit hunting the other year and kept meaning to go back but haven't managed to fit it in yet. Definitely something we need to do soon though xx

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    1. Thanks so much! It definitely warrants a second look - I'll be going back when the weather is a bit warmer and drier! x

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  7. Oh wow, what amazing photos. I'm putting "explore a cemetary" on my to do list.

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    1. Thanks! You should definitely go exploring - there are some really interesting things to be found in cemeteries! x

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