WELCOME to York's newest city centre park.

OK, so it's a little on the small side. But the revamped churchyard of All Saints Pavement off High Ousegate - which was officially declared open yesterday evening by Look North's Harry Gration - is the perfect place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

It is the first of what York Civic Trust hopes will one day soon be a series of 'pocket parks' across the city centre which will provide quiet places to rest and relax.

The churchyard's £12,500 revamp was a collaboration between the civic trust, the city council, and the parochial church council of All Saints Pavement.

Contributions were made by a range of other organisations, including the Guildhall ward committee, the Feoffees of All Saints and St Crux, the Company of Merchant Adventurers, and Costa Coffee, which has a branch just opposite.

A rotten horse chestnut tree was removed to create more light, a lawn planted, flagstones laid, flower beds in the shape of arches (to mirror the the church's windows) laid out, and benches installed.

Although the churchyard, along with other city centre graveyards, was closed to burials by order of the city council on health grounds in 1854, it remains consecrated.

Several gravestones remain, including one to a 19th century cordwainer or shoe-maker inscribed with the outline of a boot, and another to a family who died in 1777.

The latter particularly is a poignant reminder of the fragility of life. "Near this place lie the remains of Sarah, daughter of John and Sarah Calvert, who departed this life June 7, 1777, aged six years," it reads. "Also John Calvert, their son, died December 16, 1779, aged one year."

The improvement made to the churchyard has been enormous, said James Finlay, a member of All Saints Pavement's parochial church council. "It is now a most attractive little area right in the centre of York."

The new 'pocket park' is the first of several the civic trust, working with local organisations, hopes to see established in small spaces across the city centre.

The trust's 'small spaces enhancement group' is drawing up a list of potential locations.

"Hopefully this is the first of many such," said the group's chair, Verna Campbell.

Watch this space...