York Cemetery

Feel the quickening of spring at York Cemetery!

“As I rounded the corner, I stopped in my tracks. In front of me was a bench basking in the spring sun. It was perfectly placed in a drift of daffodils … and tombstones”.

York Cemetery is an ideal space to explore in the spring. The Cemetery is semi-wild, bursting with trees, plants and wildlife. Peace naturally enfolds you as you wander. You’ll be restored and energised by the sights, sounds, and smells of an emerging spring.

The Cemetery is also one of the best green spaces in York to shelter in times of cold and wind. You’ll always find a bench in a sheltered spot where you can sit, and relax awhile.

Tuning into nature

York Cemetery has a surprising variety of wildlife and habitats for an urban green space. Research has shown that natural spaces with greater biodiversity can generate greater wellbeing.

See how many signs of spring you can see – daffodils, primroses, wildflowers, bumblebees, blossom, tree buds and flowers, new leaves etc! Here’s a wonderful online game of Springo Bingo for the young ones.

Find a sunny bench, close your eyes, and feel the warmth on your face as your thoughts drift away to birdsong.

Just wander. A lovely walking meditation to try is “breathe in, take 6 steps. Breathe out, take 6 steps. And repeat”. Allow yourself just to be. As you walk, observe the gently spreading of spring yellows, whites and greens across this wild space.

Follow one of the Cemetery’s self-guided Trails.


The most pleasant green route to the Cemetery is via New Walk. You can walk or cycle to New Walk from town, or from other parts of the city via the riverside paths. Check out walking, cycle and street routes on the useful York Cycle Map. If coming by bus, take the bus into town, then find the riverside path at Tower Gardens and head up the river to New Walk.

From the Blue Bridge on New Walk, where you can also park your bike, walk upsteam, turn first left up the steps to Marborough Grove, cross Fishergate by Alligator Foods, and follow the lane round to the left of the school. You’ll emerge on Cemetery Road. The entrance to the Cemetery is just across the road.

Accessibility: To avoid the steps from New Walk to Marborough Grove, turn left directly after the Blue Bridge up Blue Bridge Lane and right along Fishergate to Alligator Foods, then follow the directions as above. At the Cemetery itself, there are a number of tarmacked, accessible routes.

Giving something back

If you’d like to give something back and help keep this space wonderful for everyone in York, consider either becoming a Friend of York Cemetery, making a Donation, or helping out as a volunteer on a regular gardening task.

If you do visit, we’d love to know how it went, and to see your photos!

Original post drafted 19 March 2020. Updated 8 April 2021.

Check out all our other Nature Time Routes across York through the seasons. Enjoy time in Nature on a green route walk or ride – all year round!

We rely on donations and grants to fund our work towards a healthy, green and kind York. Donate here

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