Mementos left on graves at Canford Crematorium have been removed because they were making the site "messy".
A big pile of ornaments and flower pots lies on the grass alongside the Westbury-on-Trym graveyard, angering mourners who placed them at the resting place of their loved ones.
Bristol City Council, who are responsible for the site in Canford Road, said relatives were given ample notice that the mementos would be removed after letters were received from some saying the area of the graves had become "messy".
But family and friends of those buried at the cemetery have spoken of their shock and upset at the "brutal stripping" of the graves.
Jean Rudkin lost David, her husband of 30 years, to cancer three weeks after they moved in to their house in Bristol.
His sudden death in April last year was also three days after his 57th birthday. Neither of them knew he had the deadly disease.
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death Mrs Rudkin had planned to visit the grave, at Canford Cemetery, with her children to lay new flowers.
But on arrival she discovered the trinkets and flower pots that had decorated the grave for the last four years had been removed by cemetery officials and dumped on a patch of grass.
Mrs Rudkin, 60, said: "It was an incredible shock when my husband died because we didn't know he had cancer. When the cemetery was landscaped, pebbles were laid in front of the head stones. We were told we could either remove the pebbles and plant flowers in the ground or place plant pots on top of them.
"I visit the grave regularly and as it was coming up to the anniversary I bought lots of plants and placed them on the pebbles. I also had a tiny stone cherub that stood on the grave stone and a stone Yorkshire Terrier that stood on the pebbles. I used to have a Yorkshire Terrier and my husband used to walk it."
Mrs Rudkin visited the grave on Sunday but when she went again on Friday it had been stripped of all ornaments. She also noticed that plants and decorations from other graves had been removed.
She said: "I went to the office at the cemetery and there was a patch of grass where all the ornaments had been dumped. There were even plaques saying 'in loving memory', and items from baby's graves, it was unbelievable.
"The office said they had put up a notice about it but we didn't receive any notification. They said it must have blown down in the wind.
"I can't believe anyone could be so callous and heartless as to do this. Especially coming up to the anniversary this is a particularly hard time for me but I'm angry and very upset. The stone Yorkshire Terrier, which cost a lot of money, has completely gone and I know I can't get another one because the lady I bought it from doesn't make them any more.
"Surely it's much nicer to keep the graves looking nice rather than letting them get overgrown."
A spokesman for Bristol City Council said: "The work is part of ongoing maintenance and improvement works at Canford Cemetery. Notices that graves would be tidied were placed in December, well in advance of anything being removed from graves. This was to allow for memorials placed over Christmas.
"When people take a grave in this part of the cemetery, it is on the understanding that they are only allowed a fixed memorial (headstone) or planting in a one-metre square section. There should not be any removable ornaments or memorials.
"The cemetery has received a number of letters from people concerned that the cemetery has become 'messy'.
"We understand graves are a very sensitive area and we don't want to cause unnecessary distress by removing ornaments if people haven't realised they shouldn't be there. Anyone with any concerns should contact the council's cemetery team on 0117 903 8280."