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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Fountains not Mountains

Fountains not Mountains

Slightly east this weekend at my good friends in Nidderdale (accommodation details here). So lucky to have a base to visit  Yorkshire.



The dales this weekend were somewhat dark and brooding so we decided to put our National Trust memberships to use and visit Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. My last visit was on a primary school trip, so I was in need of a memory refresh.

fountains abbeybySteveColbourne

The deer park and grounds of Studley Royal exhibit the designs of John Aislabie and the Georgian era in all its excessive pomp and grandeur. Coincidently there was a World Heritage day event running, so there were some appropriate visitors around the grounds. Clothes were provided for those who wished to participate.


The clean lines and geometry made me think that the Georgian aristocracy wanted to control and conquer nature, rather than enjoy it, though some of the statues do raise a smile.


Difficult to believe that it was once described as an “..inhospitable valley thickset with thorns lying between the slopes of mountains among rocks jutting out both sides of the River Skell. Fit rather to the lair of wild beasts than the home of human beings”.


It would be possible to spend all day wandering round the 600acre deer park and grounds, without even touching the ruins of the abbey. I was impressed that, even though it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there were few ‘do not go’ signs and it was good to see children being able to run in and out of the ruins and explore.


How such magnificent buildings were ever conceived and built as far back as the 12th century is a mystery to me. The arches, concentric designs and symmetry came from an amazing visionary without even beginning to wonder how they were build without present day technology.


Now that the National Trust has taken over the site there is plenty to keep the entire family happy with historical displays, cafes, tearooms and picnic sites.

Another wonderful reason to go north!

For a book on Fountains Abbey or the Yorkshire Dales check here!


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  1. Twelve Pictures from 2012 - [...] I wandered off to Yorkshire and enjoyed a day at Fountains Abbey, but closer to home, the Duddon Estuary…

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