Sanctuary in the City

Ainoa’s quiet neighbours

The place I’m choosing is Extra Mural Cemetery, Lewes Road. 

I moved to Brighton 10 years ago (time flies in this city), I moved to the top of Hartington Road and at the time there was a gap in the fence, I could go inside the green space of the cemetery and relax a bit, listening to the birds and watching the foxes running around.

We used to laugh about how good and quiet the neighbours were. 

A year later I moved to London Road, no green spaces by my home to relax and watch birds or foxes, just busy roads. Lucky me at that time they were remodelling The Open Market and this was the best place to make the shopping, in fact I still do it and wouldn’t change it. 

But, as it couldn’t be otherwise I moved again; this time to Gladstone Place, at the bottom of the Extra Mural Cemetery, just in between the 2 gates, no gaps in the fence now. So I started to go there for my walk more and more often. To forget about the city, to forget about the cars. It felt strange at the beginning to be that comfortable in such a place, but the truth is that it is a gorgeous place full of trees and nature. I found my favourite spots and some nice benches too. 

But then, I had to move again. Now I live in Bear Road. So funny I’ve been having the same neighbours since I move to Brighton and I never had a complaint! Neither do they! 

It is true that the cemetery is not far from the road, and that it is a manmade space, but the circle of life becomes such a beauty in this spot of our city, the ancient holly trees, the roots breaking the stones, the little purple flowers in every sunny corner, the seagulls and crows battling each other, the foxes jumping the walls.  

When I have visitors, usually from Spain (where the cemeteries are completely different to this one), and I said I’m going to take them to the cemetery, they all look at me, perplexed, then they understand and enjoy the trail and the hidden spots. 

Ainoa, 2022

Ainoa’s story about the Extra Mural Cemetery has been included in the walking tour at Brighton Festival 2022. You can read and listen to the other 11 stories that have been included by clicking here.