Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol

Britain’s Victorian cemeteries hold a fascination all of their own. Their elaborate buildings and monuments are by turn exotic, triumphant, poignant and serene. Their often overgrown landscapes are superb for city centre wildlife. There is, in fact, every reason to preserve and conserve them for their history, architecture and environmental benefits.

Bristol's Arnos Vale Cemetery, for instance, is an amazing urban sanctuary: A place to explore nature and see some extraordinary monuments, historic buildings and a unique landscape. It's a tranquil place for remembrance and reflection with unbeatable social history. It is easy to reach, being located off the A4 Bath Road, a mile east of Temple Meads Station, Bristol.

The cemetery is run by a registered charity, the Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust. For years the trust has struggled tirelessly to keep the cemetery open, relying on campaigning by dedicated volunteers, Bristol City Council and the wider community to preserve Arnos Vale and protect it from development. Recently, it received £20,000 from the Landfill Communities Fund towards its maintenance and repair.

The funding was provided by Viridor Credits in association with the environmental company Yansec, for trail markers, information panels, bird attractors, specimen labels, alterable signage and seating areas across the 45-acre site. In parallel with this, Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust is now progressing well with its wider restoration programme and is getting ready to re-open officially as a heritage, wildlife and education centre, complete with visitor reception area, a small shop, sculpture trail, exhibitions and marked paths during the early May Bank Holiday.

"The grants we have received are making a huge difference to what we can achieve and offer. The end result will create a place where people of all ages can enjoy the history and surroundings of this Victorian gem". Rachel Schofield, Trust's chief executive.

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