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Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery

friends-estate-management Join the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery

You can help us make a difference!


Arnos Vale Cemetery is a special place. However, it was almost lost forever in the 1980s due to the threat of commercial development. In response to this threat, the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery formed a successful mass campaign to save the cemetery from destruction. 

Help us keep the cemetery open

The cemetery is now managed by Arnos Vale Trust, so it is safe from immediate danger. However, it costs thousands of pounds each year to look after the graves, pathways and landscape, as well as to maintain public access throughout the year. The Trust receives no government or council funding and is therefore reliant on public support to maintain and enhance the cemetery. The Friends provide vital financial support to Arnos Vale Trust through membership subscription and fundraising and the Friends have contributed over £100,000 to the cemetery’s restoration program. Without the generous support of members, it would not be possible to maintain the cemetery to its current standards.

 Join the Friends - Download a membership form

The Friends also support the cemetery through vital volunteer roles, including:-

Grounds maintenance
Tour guiding and talks
Archives research
Visitor reception
Office administration
Events support Fundraising

We are currently fundraising for the Endowment Challenge, with all money being matched £ for £ by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Any support you can offer us – however big or small – will help save the cemetery forever.

Please get in touch! Got a question? Want to get involved? Send us an  email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  Our Aims:


To support Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust in promoting Arnos Vale Cemetery as:


To support the Trust through volunteer roles, to include grounds maintenance, visitor reception, shop, office administration and record search, tour guiding, talks and event support plus other appropriate volunteering activities.

3.   To carry out fundraising for specific cemetery projects in agreement with the Trust.  

 How the Friends saved Arnos Vale

In the late 1980s, Arnos Vale Cemetery reached a critical situation.  Burial space ran out and income dwindled, resulting in less money to pay for staff and much reduced maintenance.  Many of the once-splendid memorials toppled and the grounds became overgrown as wind-born seeds of ash and sycamore took root, paths and open spaces became choked with bramble, bindweed and knotweed.  In 1987, alarmed by a press report that the then owners wanted to clear a large section for commercial development, a group of concerned local people came together to oppose the proposals, with the aim of winning long-term protection for the cemetery as a heritage asset.  The group, originally called the 'Association for the Preservation of Arnos Vale Cemetery' APAC but since renamed the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery, galvanized a mass campaign, attracting wide-scale support, from organisations including Bristol City Council, the Bristol Evening Post, local citizens and many other people worldwide. 

After huge efforts, many setbacks and legal wrangles, Bristol City Council finally became the new owners of Arnos Vale in 2003, and a Charitable Trust was set up to restore and protect the cemetery.  The cemetery is now managed by Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust so there is no longer a need for a separate campaigning group to save the cemetery.  The Friends are now proud to support the Trust through membership subscriptions and volunteering.

Read more on the Friends History Page


Friends News 

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