The sun was beaming down at me happily this morning and so after careful consideration of all of the things I wanted to do and how much energy I actually had, I decided to go for a quick stroll. A short walk away from where I currently am, there are two large gatehouse’s, with two large gates in-between and walls leading off in either direction. From where I am now, I can just see a small, delicate, white angel peeking over the top of the nearest wall inviting me to come hither.
This is Arnos Vale Cemetery – a Victorian Garden Cemetery.
Built in the 1830’s, it was once part of a large estate and runs its course on a naturally sloping hillside much like an amphitheatre. It’s paths wind in and out of the myriad of tree’s planted there over the years, with the huge Victorian tombs, built to echo the architecture of the ancient Romans rising out of the treeline; the obelisks, angels and gravestones scattered in-between, gradually being over run by the foliage which has been allowed to grow wild. It is quite a magical landscape, and despite the fact that you can hear the roar of the city cars as they whir past, never knowing the beauty that lies within these walls, at the same time, it is peaceful and reminiscent of the countryside that is not so far away.
At one point I stopped and a whole chorus of birdsong was discovered by my ears, once I’d actually begun to listen to the world around me and shut out the city. It was quite mesmerising and quite a perfect little haven. And so I thought I’d share this all with you as best I could, through my little blog, as so many of us become cut off from the wonders of nature, day in day out going about our regular routines. So take a moment now, stop for just a second and enjoy the beauty of a place so small in the scheme of things and yet so natural to us all.
There were so many paths in this small oasis of a graveyard that I could not explore them all in one go. But it makes for many interesting walks in the future 🙂
I came across this headstone at one point, looking so lonely all on its own and I wondered why it stood out so much. It was only on closer inspection that I noticed it was written entirely in Norwegian or something similar or so I guess from the words. I wonder what the story is, behind someone from so far away being buried in this particular cemetery in Bristol, during World War II.
From far away this was just another pillar, jutting up from the ground, but when I got a lot closer and took this photo, I realised it was covered in vines, that had crept up from the base in search of the sunlight. The peculiar thing is, it does make it look very much like a sort of electrified beacon out of a science fiction game or the like. I liked it anyway 🙂
These two photo’s go together, for through the crumbling gates above, you arrive at the Garden of Rest, which seems to be an area set aside for loved ones to go and leave tokens of memories and love for their dearly departed. It was quite a poignant place and I had to stop a while to take it all in.
You wouldn’t take this as being in the same place, but this was further up, behind the trees and the pretty facade, where fewer people venture and nature is taking back its hold. I’d expect it takes a lot of money to keep up a place such as this, and so it’s no wonder to see parts of it crumbling away, headstones knocked over and the weeds growing wild. But it doesn’t make it any less beautiful and so long as people still come here and look, I think that these people might be slightly lost, but not forgotten.
Finally, this headstone caught my attention, not for its owner, but because of its stereotypical presence here. The Ivy growing around the edges just enough to look pretty but without obscuring the writing, with the most lovely gothic script and an eloquent passage in dedication, the stone underneath looking slightly weatherbeaten but still clean and presentable. How quintessentially English-Graveyard-esque 🙂 Lovely.
Have a lovely Easter Weekend.
Signing off, Siany