Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Fountains Abbey to Ripon walk

I want to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year and to say that in the same way that I have commenced it with a different personal concept and part biographical with specific friends both near and far, so life has took a new direction as I come to terms in dealing with ill health in my family.

The journey that I am about to take you on may seem like a walk in the country or a wander around a town but it means a bit more to me than that as I seek direction onwards. I'm usually very modest about some of my photographic work, for example this particular post, but some of these trips were worthy of staying on for a few more days to depict some visual delights that you will not disappointed with.

I have inspiration for this concept and post from Farmchick @ its a small town life who uses humorous alias names to protect identities and cranberry morning ( @ fountains abbey ) whose inspiration keeps me going in many more ways than just one. It puts me to shame that someone has to travel half way around the world to see extensive portions of Yorkshire and yet there is so much that is only 90 minutes away from my doorstep that I have just driven past to places further afield.... speaking of which this was a walk around the exterior perimeter fence !! ... and it's been about 15 years since I paid to go in.

Sand Sculpture GJC_IMG_9608 (1)
My "Scarborough Sandcastle manager" (september 2010)

As an introduction and part biographical post... Following the ending of my 5-6 years with "The Bristol connection", I met up with a lost friend due to house moves and my constant travels to the south west of England. You can imagine his surprise when I spoke to him on the telephone after I received a circular e-mail from "The Leeds link"saying that he was organising a walk in Richmond, North Yorkshire. My rendezvous in London with The Bristol connection didn't happen and so began a story within a blog joining a Yorkshire walking group on outings to Grassington and later Masham. Around this time, the "Seaside Star" organised a fun trip to Scarborough as a social day out with an overlapping group that included non walkers and I later met up with in her home town of Sheffield for a day. The "Scarborough sandcastle manager" inspired me to join him in many more things such as Yorkshire dales walking and a Borrowdale weekend that included four posts during last May and early June.
(all place names in blue are links to the relevant previous posts)

Hill House Farm. "Right of way" rather than ... err ... a footpath !

The Scarborough sandcastle manager is a very busy person and organises walking events and town tours for voluntary and fee paying groups. On this particular day he was wanting my advice on the suitability of his planned route for the fee paying "Amblers" !  It was at this point in the walk above that I gave him .... my opinions !! .... something for the (Grassington) "Ramblers".

It was with interest and half a smile that I noticed that this walk was put on this years programme during March. It looks like that I might have some pressure applied to me to attend !!

Following a riotous dispute in St Mary's Abbey in York, thirteen Benedictine monks founded the Abbey in a sheltered and more peaceful valley in 1132. Due to its business in the wool trade, Fountains Abbey became an affluent location home for the monks for a mix of wealthy times followed by economic hardship in the 400 year period leading up to the destructive Henry VIII in 1539.  When the visiting Victorians tourists in the mid nineteenth century arrived, they were governed by strict rules so as not to damage the site. In more recent times the National Trust acquired the site from Yorkshire County Council in 1983 and were the organisation to best preserve it.

Fountains Hall was built over a period of six years at the start of the 17th century partly with the stones from the ruined Abbey and was occupied by successive family descendants for about 150 years. The new owners that purchased didn't need it as they lived on the nearby Studley Royal Estate so it was rented out to various tenants until renovation about 1930. King George VI stayed here a few times and it was a haven for World War II evacuees before falling into a state of disrepair. As with the other buildings on the estate, Yorkshire County Council had to pick up the pieces before the National Trust as I said in the previous paragraph commenced preservation in 1983.

Anyhow, I don't want to bore you with any more history as I was thinking about lunch and Ripon Cathedral seems like .... lunch in Ripon won't be happening for some time !!

Sorry, I can't wait and I have to fast forward to lunchtime in Ripon square where the "Scarborough Sandcastle manager" inspired me in the local Tudor butchers shop (below) with two things I hadn't eaten before, a special herbed pork pie and Yorkshire curd tart.

Just to let you know that I must come back here again on my own to re sample it, visit Ripon Cathedral and tell you a bit more about the place in a separate post ... sometime !!  ... as there is quite a bit of history about the town ...

We rejoined the footpath at T and R Williamson Varnish and enamel works built in 1775 ...

... and made a start on the return journey following the river for a short distance through the town.

After a mix of river, road and hedgerows, it finally felt that we were back out in the country again at Studley Roger.

.. where I would like to tell you about my feet !!
My fellow companion checked his map in order that we didn't miss the scenic route back.
We paused at a gate ...

... before joining the popular walking route back on the unpaid section of the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Estate.

"The Valley of the Seven Bridges" was the short return route that my friend decided to take the "Amblers" on in the end from the Fountains Abbey car park.

Finally we reached the lake on the estate signifying that the walk was nearly over ...

Maybe I could just rest my feet in here for a minute or two !!

As the long and weary day ( !! ) was coming to an end , it was time to reflect on some thoughts ...

... apart from a walk filled with ... Curd tart and tired feet !, it was a walk with many peaceful animal scenes ...


  1. Wonderful, wonderful pictures. All straight as well. Thanks for this tour.....Happy New Year.

  2. Some great photos, that sound like a lovely walk.

    Happy New Year to you :-)

  3. Happy New Year, J! I love the photo of the window and the mail slot. I think it's great that you're wandering close to home--it's so easy to take your home country for granted.

  4. Happy New Year and hope you get a chance for many more walks in 2012.

  5. Love the phone box photos, gald to see that they didn't get rid of them. I have found out that you don't have to go to far from your front door to find places of interest and beauty in this country.
    Happy New Year to you, and happy walking for 2012 looking forward to your posts
    Jan, George and Tess x

  6. Dear....what do I like the most? Fountains Hall (so classic), St. Mary's church, (stunning), the blue van (I could drive that), or perhaps the red phone booths....that last one makes me sound so very American. I loved this walk.

  7. Happy and prosperous New Year to you and your family, J!!!!
    As usually I loved walking with you, superb selection of photos! Thanks:)

  8. I really enjoyed this post (and thanks, btw, for the mention.) As I see from this post, there is so much of Ripon that we did not see, and the whole area is so beautiful and full of interest! The map gave my heart a little flip, for I am a real map person (for those who are also map people, this needs no further explanation lol) and it took me back to the days when I was planning where to go and what to do in Yorkshire. As always, thanks for the great photos and the humor. Bridger reminds me that big dogs are sweet and fluffy too. :-) P.S. Glad you got the front side of those phone boxes. :-)

  9. I enjoyed the ride with you..
    Wishes for a good new year with a good pair of boots for walking!!!

    Hugs from Athens

  10. A great post, J_on_tour, presenting us the beauty of your region. I loved the Valley of the Seven Bridge, and also the photos depicting the rural England. Like always, your post is also very informative.

    Happy New Year!

  11. The Grassington Ramblers..I like that term. I'd love to give special spiced York pie a try. Is that anything like Shepherds pie? I love the pictures and your journey's. I'm wondering if that's enough chain to hold the dog...should his demeanor change for the worst!

  12. Nice to see in your pictures that phone booths are still having their place of honor. Where I live they're dissappearing.
    The red built-in mail box under the window is lovely.

    Phone booths and mail boxes - make me glad they're still here with all the cellphones and electronic mail boxes surrounding us.

    Happy New Year!

  13. Excellent photo-tour. What beautiful buildings. We love the bridge shot the best. It's postcard perfect.

    Darryl and Ruth :)

  14. An area I know well - thanks for the interesting photos.


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