Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Studley Royal Park and Fountains Abbey

The initial plan was to complete a long walk to the east of Ripon, but then my eyes were drawn to what appeared to be a large park and ruins to the west.  Eventually I plotted a figure of eight walk of approximately 18km and headed of in light drizzle hoping the weather would clear (it didn’t).

Leaving Jan cuddling the washing machine and infusing the aroma from the dirty laundry I headed off in an anti clockwise direction.  It first part of the route took me through a wooded area alongside the River Skell.

It wasn’t until I hit the park boundary that I realized it was a National Trust property.

This seemed rather promising but I should really have done more research before the walk.  Various signs requested walkers stay on the paths or mown grass.  The area was being grazed by deer and cattle. 

Deer grazing

I hadn’t realized Studely Royal Park comprised of approximately 800 acres and was a World Heritage Site.  Within the park are some of the largest Cistercian ruins in Europe, along with a Jacobean mansion and a Victorian church.  There’s also an 18th-century landscaped garden.

The Victorian church was the dominating feature so that’s where I headed.  It wasn’t until I got closer that I noticed the Jacobean mansion.


The Jacobean mansion looked as if the back of it had been cut off!  Actually it may have not been the Jacobean mansion because the sign in front had Chorister's House on it?

St Mary’s Church.  Consecrated in 1878…..  So it’s not all that old!  Smile

The route took me out of the park’s western boundary and then around to high ground overlooking the park.  I then walked back into the park from the south. This took me through a farm where a shed full of young male calves couldn’t believe how well they were being fed and cared for.  Little do they know about their future!

To my surprise the fields up here were full of pheasants and they weren’t concerned about my presence. I guess it’s not hunting season?

Are they unable to fly at this time of year?

The walk back into the park took me past more deer.The doe’s looked skittish whilst the larger stags gave me the evil eye!  Some ruins could be seen off to my left.

The path eventually bought me to a large artificial lake. 

The lake is at the bottom end of the Studley Park Water Gardens.  I then followed the water course back up the valley crossing a number of small stone foot bridges.

By now the continuous drizzling rain had soaked my hair and salty water was running down my face and stinging my eyes.  It’s been a few years since I’ve experienced this.  In Australia the perspiration usually evaporates as quickly as it appears.

Back at Waiouru I warmed up with a lovely hot shower and then gifted my walking clothes to a delighted wife!

We will have to start heading south tomorrow.

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