The cemetery opened in 1856 for the Barnstaple Burial Board and extends over an area of 13.2 acres and is bisected by a stream between the two slopes on which the cemetery is laid out. It has two chapels and a Cemetery Lodge (now in private ownership), with the Lodge being designed by the Barnstaple Borough Surveyor Richard Davie Gould and having Grade II listed building status since 1999. The main entrance with a small parking area is located on Derby Road in Barnstaple with a pedestrian entrance accessible on Bear Street. The cemetery has a range of grave types set in a mature landscaped setting and incorporates areas for the burial or scattering of ashes. There is also a Children's Area designated for the burial of children. The older part of the cemetery on the Bear Street entrance has been designated as a wild flower area. One of the two small chapels is available to hold funeral services.
In January 2016 and again in May 2017 mourners were instructed by North Devon Council to remove any tributes from graves that were not touching head stones. The Council said this was necessary because people were breaking rules by placing photographs, messages, lights and other items down the length of graves making it difficult to cut the grass and to reopen graves to bury relatives.
Obelisk memorial to Louisa Crassweller and Alderman Charles Crassweller JP, former Mayor of Portsmouth
- Bear Street Cemetery on the North Devon Council website
- Barnstaple Cemetery on Parks and Gardens UK website
- Barnstaple Cemetery Lodge on the English Heritage Listed Buildings database
- Barnstaple Cemetery on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website
- Anger after council asks relatives to clear graves at North Devon cemetery - ITV News - 19 January 2016
- Graveyard tributes in Barnstaple 'must be removed' - BBC News 9 May 2017