Places to Visit:
Fountain Abbey: Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY
Cistercian abbey, elegant Georgian water garden and medieval deer park
The National Trust website states that for centuries people have been drawn to Fountains Abbey as an inspiring place. From humble beginnings the magnificent abbey was established by devout monks seeking a simpler existence. The atmospheric ruins that remain are a window into a way of life which shaped the medieval world. When the socially ambitious John Aislabie inherited Studley Royal, he set about creating an elegant water garden of mirror-like ponds, statues and follies, incorporating the romantic ruins into his design. Green lawns stretch down to the riverside, a perfect spot for a picnic. Riverside paths lead to the deer park, home to Red, Fallow and Sika deer and ancient trees; limes, oaks, and sweet chestnuts.
One-of-a-kind, this special place is now recognised as a World Heritage Site.
It is fair to say that Fountains Abbey offers this and a great deal more. The Historical Examiner recently visited the estate to see for ourselves if it lived up to all the claims of the National Trust.
In our opinion, the car park area is a great size and easily accessible. The walk to the payment office and then to into the estate is flat and then downhill towards the Abbey. Just remember what goes down, must come up! Overall our visit was pleasurable, and the coffee in the cafe was particularly welcome on a very cold day.
The paths are well maintained and the whole site is easy to walk around. We would advise getting to the site early as by lunchtime the Abbey grounds, cafes and carpark were very busy. The Historical Examiner would also suggest allowing at least half a day to see most of the Abbey and grounds. There are plenty of different buildings and ruins to see, and it would be easy to miss parts if time was limited. That said, if time was short – then the walk down to the Abbey and stroll around the ruins is the least people should consider doing.
It is only when you get down into the valley does the true size of Fountains Abbey reveal itself, and you get an appreciation for the dimensions and complexity of the Abbey setting.
Images from the day!
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