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?
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