Skip to main content

Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey.


Wed 19th October 2011

This was another sunny day out with Sal, the weather was almost summerlike. We had another disaster with the Sat Nav;just getting us out of Bingley was a major task in itself. On the moors above Ilkley it was assigned to the glove compartment, I knew where Fountains Abbey was anyway but wasn't sure on the easiest route there. The drive down Nidderdale was simply beautiful with the trees just starting to change colour.


Tat shop and Visitor Centre


When we arrived, Sal made straight for the tat shop.....nuff said.


Fountains Hall

Our next point of call was Fountains Hall which was built between 1598 and 1604, partly with stone from the Abbey ruins. It played host to the young prince destined to become the ill fated Charles I, during his first royal progress from London to Edinburgh in 1604 and during the Second World War, the Hall and other estate buildings were used to house evacuees. However, after the war, the Hall again fell into a state of serious dilapidation but has been one of the National Trust's major restoration projects since acquiring the estate in 1983.


Fountains Hall

  It was a bit disappointing inside as only the 2 downstairs rooms were open. There wasn't much in either to be honest but the outside gardens are very well laid out and the frontage is very interesting with various Coats of Arms and figures of past owners adorning it.


Sal getting genned up


The Abbey Ruins



A dispute and riot at St Mary's Abbey in York led to the founding of Fountains Abbey in 1132. After pleading unsuccessfully to return to the early 6th century Rule of St Benedict, 13 monks were exiled and taken into the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York. He provided them with a site in the valley of the little River Skell in which they could found a new, more devout monastery and as a result, Fountains Abbey was built.


Fountains Mill

Fountains Mill (above) is perhaps the best preserved watermill in England and is the only 12th Centuty Cistercian corn mill in Britain. A working mill was too valuable to demolish at the Dissolution in 1539 and it was spared because it was able to generate an income for the estate of £3 a year. In its time the mill has also been a sawmill, a dairy operation, a stone masons’ workshop, a generating station for electricity and during the Second World War it housed refugees.

Today there is a nice little cafe in the buildings so we treated ourselves to a couple of cappuccinos and I had some flapjack whilst Sal has a shortbread man which I foolishly ordered as a shortbread ginger man much to her amusement.


Abbey Ruins

We then spend a good hour just wandering around the ruins with our cameras. The ruins have to be the most impressive of any  Abbey ruins. The main Abbey itself was built down in the valley so only the top of the main tower can be seen as you approach it from the Visitor Centre so the first view of the vastness and complexity of the site comes as somewhat of a surprise



Abbey ruins


Cellarium

Amazingly the cellarium roof has remained intact and the lay brothers ate, slept and socialised here, beneath the incredible vaulted ceiling which escaped Henry VIII’s brutal sixteenth century dissolution of the abbeys. 


Cellarium


Today the inhabitants are protected species of bat who live in the ceiling nooks and only come out after dusk. It is estimated there are over eight species of bats living in the cellarium.


The south aisle of the church


View down the Nave looking towards the Great East Window


When you are stood in the Nave, you really do start to appreciate what a spectacular structure this must have been when built. The North and South Aisles adjoin it with the Great East Window in front.


Rooks on Abbey walls

One thing I did notice was the number of rooks which have made the ruins their own. There were hundreds of them which resulted in a continual cawing noise most of the afternoon.



Abbey wall detail.


Abbey ruins.


The main tower and ruins.

The Abbot's House, The Chapter house, Cloisters, infirmaty, refectory and kitchen were all situated around this area of the ruins (see below).

Plan of Abbey



Archway, warming house.


Cellarium


Sal


At one point in the afternoon I completely lost Sal. When she starts clicking away with that camera she is completely lost in a world of her own. She was at the far end of the nave one minute then just vanished into thin air the next and I couldn't find her anywhere. She reappearred about 10 minutes later totally unconcerned and carried on clicking away bless her.


West Green, Fountains Abbey

The Porter’s Lodge part of the Abbey ruins is located on the edge of the West Green overlooking the Abbey and was the gatehouse and main entrance to the Abbey precinct. Today the ruins house a new contemporary building, opened in May 2008, providing exhibition space for the interpretation of the history of the Abbey and monks’ lives.  The most impressive exhibit is a model of the Abbey (below) and there is also an interactive area where you can don Monk's habits. I had one embarrassing photo taken on me but unfortunately Sal neshed out which is unusual for her. The walls are covered with artifacts and displays relating to the history of the Abbey.



Fountains Abbey model, Porter's Lodge



Abbey Museum, Porter's Lodge


Abbey Museum, Porter's Lodge


Unfoirtunately we had spent too much time in the Abbey so a trip into Ripon was called off for another day but we did agree to go to Studley Royal to see if we could see any of the deer in the grounds.


Scooby Doo


Berries

The water garden at Studley Royal is supposedly one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England. It was created by John Aislabie in 1718 and was expanded by his son, William after Aislabie's death. William expanded the property, purchasing the adjacent Fountains Estate. The garden's elegant ornamental lakes, canals, temples and cascades provide a succession of eye-catching vistas. The garden is also studded with a number of follies including a neo-Gothic castle and a paladin style banqueting house.

We had hoped to go and see the gardens but it was nearing half past four and it was closing. There is plenty of scope for another visit though and next time we intend to see the gardens and then go into Ripon and research its connections with Lewis Carrol which interests Sal.


Studley Royal


Studley Royal.

On our drive back through Studley Roya park we got to see the famous deer and stags. With it being rutting season, there was plenty of "activity" and one stag in particular seemed to be the head of the herd. Other smalled stags crept nearer to challenge him but soon beat a hasty retreat when he turned on them. Sal got a very good photo of him (below).

Stag, Studley Royal.


Panic set upon the both of us as we realised that we'd had nothing to eat all day and more importantly, we had not been to a pub! We decided that a drive back through the Dales would be too tiring so we stopped off in Otley and had a pint in the Black Bull in the Market Square which is reputed to be the oldest pub in the town followed by a pint and one of Spoon's specials for my tea.

All in all another thoroughly enjoyable day out.

Popular posts from this blog

Wharfedale

These are just a selection of photos I took a few weeks ago. The first bunch are of Linton Bridge and the River Wharfe just outside Grassington. The concrete retaining walls of Linton Mill by the side of the bridge now support a housing development called ‘Linton Falls’. A corn mill has probably stood on this site from Medieval times. In 1788, Robert Hargreaves & Co of Addingham built a worsted-spinning mill there. Soon after a new tenant, Samuel Gill, and until 1804, his partner James Parker, turned the mill over to spinning cotton. By 1830 it had returned to worsted spinning under the ownership of J & W Birkbeck. Birkbecks then built a five-storey cotton mill on the site in the mid-19th century. This mill burnt down in 1912 and was replaced by a smaller structure. This went out of business during the 1950s. It was demolished in 1983 apart from the houses facing onto the footpath that crosses the river. Prior to demolition, the mill’s rare uniflow steam engine was rescued an…

The Old Brown Horse :

On the minor road to Scarness Bay in Cumbria, there has been a small stable where 2 two horses have lived for years. On passing it the other week with Dave and Chris, we noticed an R.I.P sign and only one horse. He or she looked so sad and forlorn.

As shown in it's eyes, it was obviously missing it's old mate. Thanks to Sal for the verse which it is rather apt.





The Old Brown Horse :

The old brown horse looks over the fence
In a weary sort of way.
He seems to be saying to all who pass:
“Well, folks, I've had my day-
I'm simply watching the world go by,
And nobody seems to mind,
As they're dashing past in their motor-cars,
A horse who is lame and half-blind.”


The old brown horse has a shaggycoat,
But once he was young and trim,
And he used to trot through the woods and lanes
With the man who was fond of him.
But his master rides in a motor-car,
And it makes him feel quite sad
When he thinks of the days that used to be, and of al…

Derwent Valley, Castleton and The Devil's Arse!

I had this day out and took these shot's at the beginning of June when all the rape was in bloom in the fields above High Bradfield. The cloud cover was kind to me as well, letting the sun burst through intermittently,  lighting up the yellow fields beautifully.

I love this area which is on the edge of The Peak District and can't thank Sal enough for introducing me to it. The view over Bradfield Dale to the distant Derwent Edge is one of our favourites and has to be one of the loveliest in the area. Coupled with this are a pair of nice pubs, a beautiful Church and a brewery which makes Bradfield an ideal stopping off point. No pubs for me today though.

Sal had often mentioned The Derwent Valley so I thought I'd go and have a bit of an explore and then drive on to Castleton. The moor road over to the main A57 passing Strines resounded with the call of the Curlews so I presumed it was their mating season. I love their call, it is an unmistakable, plaintive, and lonely …

Snow in Ribblesdale

Yet another one of those days when I leave Bradford in sunshine and, by the time I do the twenty odd miles up to the Dales, the blue skies have disappeared and the cloud has moved in. This has happened to me every time bar one this year. I did manage to see a few glimpses of the sun just outside Horton in Ribblesdale and then just for a fleeting moment at Ribblehead but apart from that it was pretty gloomy. I was very fortunate at Ribblehead as the sun lit up Whernside beautifully.

I parked the car on the edge of Horton and had a walk around the network of country lanes in the vicinity. All lead up to Brackenbottom Farm which is the usual start for walking up Pen y Ghent. There weren't many takers which I thought was a bit strange as the weather would have been ideal. Mind you, it was midweek so I suppose most people will have been working. It was pretty damned cold though and I was glad to get back to the car and head for Ribblehead.

I had thought of going all the way up to Hawe…

To Lochinver via Coigach

Again, I don't really think many words are needed for this blog. The photos tell the whole story of one of the best drives in the UK.

The route chops and changes from mountain to coastal and back again and is possibly the best section of the Wester Ross Coastal Road. I was fortunate enough to be at Gruinard Bay when the tide was out so I more to less had the whole beach to myself, th the mighty An Teallach (widely regarded as the best hill in Scotland) towered above me as I drove down through Dundonnell.  Then it was through the Dundonnell River gorge and across the Dundonnell Forest to Loch Broom and Ullapool. Even Ullapool looked good with the morning sun and blue skies. I hardly met any traffic at all from the moment I left my hotel on the shores on Loch Maree which meant driving was a sheer pleasure.

The last section of the route through Coigach to Lochinver is the reason I keep visiting these parts. It may only be about twenty miles in length but it goes through what is, in m…

The Old Coal Road.

The Old Coal Road runs between Cowgill in Dentdale and Garsdale high up in the Yorkshire Dales.

There were twenty-five coal pits which formed part of the extensive coal workings and lay on the moorland either side of it. These coal pits were worked by local people, initially to produce domestic fuel, but by the 18th century, the poor quality coal was also being used in lime kilns. Commercial coal mining went on in Garsdale until the 1870s when the Settle-Carlisle railway started bringing in cheaper, higher quality coal from the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields.

If you aren't adversed to a bit of  road walking then I should imaging a trip up on the Settle-Carlisle train, getting off at Dent Station and then walking up to Garsdale Head (or Hawess Junction as it was once known), would be a grand day out. For good measure it should include a couple of pints in The Moorcock Inn before getting the train back down.

On Garsdale station stands a statue of Ruswarp, a collie. Ruswarp…

A Farewell to The Trossachs

I had a rather disappointing day in The Trossachs last weekend. Talk about not feeling welcome.

I used to park up at two places on the shores of Loch Chon and then go for a wander in the forest with my camera. The first place had been ruined by tree felling and was a right mess and the other place had been turned in to a campsite! At the first spot, I just about managed to park my car and clamber around fallen trees and debris to take a few photos but couldn't even get in to the second spot!

The new campsite is all to do with The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park's attempt at trying to stop wild camping which they say is becoming a problem on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond from where people used to wild camp and climb Ben Lomond. Their solution is to have purpose built campsites miles away from where they are actually needed. It makes you wonder if they really want visitors at all. The consensus of opinion is that they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and var…