Blooming lovely! Community garden breathes life into overgrown space

July 26 2019
Blooming lovely! Community garden breathes life into overgrown space

It was once an overgrown and neglected plot of land – now the space at Arnos Vale Cemetery has been transformed into a haven for both people and wildlife.

The community garden, which is next to the entrance in Cemetery Road, was officially opened by Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Jos Clarke, on July 11.

Attending were Year 3 children from the local Hillcrest Primary School, representatives from the organisations which sponsored the garden, as well as staff, volunteers and trustees from Arnos Vale Cemetery.

The garden – which was built using recycled and sustainable materials – includes 12 raised beds, a wildlife pond and dipping platform, a composting area, storage facilities, fruit trees, and bat and bird boxes.

Improvements to the area were carried out by the hardworking estate team and volunteers, managed and supervised by Nick Bull and Liam Matthews, and funded through grants from Tesco Bags of Help initiative and QBE insurance company.

Designs for the site were created by Nicholas Pearsons Associates.

At the launch event, pupils planted flowers, herbs and strawberry plants – supplied by the local Riverside Garden Centre – and guests were invited to enjoy refreshments and cake from the local bakery, Cakesmiths.

Now, Arnos Vale is looking for voluntary community groups to maintain the garden and help it become a vibrant and sensory space for all.

Arnos Vale CEO Ellie Collier thanked the volunteers and estate team for their hard work. She said: “I have been lucky enough to see this community garden rise up from nothing in the short time I have been here and that is thanks to the hard work and dedication that Liam, Nick and all the volunteers have put into this.

“It is a huge achievement, congratulations to you all. It really looks fantastic.”

Cllr Jos Clarke, who is ward councillor for Brislington West and also a trustee of Arnos Vale Cemetery, said: “I have quite an affiliation with the cemetery – it’s a fantastic space, so close to home and so well used by all ages, getting to and from school, or people doing things such as mindfulness photography. There are so many people who can access the space – it’s a green lung for the city.”

Photo: School children from Hillcrest Primary with Liam Matthews and Nick Bull from Arnos Vale Cemetery’s estate team and Lord Mayor of Bristol Cllr Jos Clarke