Walk: Fountain’s Abbey

Cock pheasant (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We skipped a week’s walking last week because of illness and because we were busy visiting family. So this week we wanted to make sure we had a decent walk to make up for it.

Off we pootled to Fountain’s Abbey near Ripon. The poet had been avoiding this visit because he thought it might take too long to get there. I wouldn’t have minded going over Christmas, but they had some very bad floods between us and North Yorkshire, so we steered clear.

It’s been a long time since my last visit, and I was quite excited to be going back as it’s a beautiful place in beautiful surroundings with some terrific history. AND … it took us just over an hour to get there, and just under an hour to get back – on a Saturday too.

The plan was to do a 4½-mile walk, but when we got there we thought we might give the 5½-mile walk a go instead, or the “walk through the centuries”. This goes around the National Trust property and then out into the countryside. But there was so much to see and do within the grounds that too much time was spent exploring and taking pictures.

In the end we managed just under 4½ miles, but I’d introduced the poet to a magical place and one we hope to go back to again and again.

We started our walk at the visitor centre and were pleased to see how welcome the dog was. There were water bowls scattered around all over the place, one of which was beneath a cold water tap so could be freshened when necessary. So long as he was kept on a lead, which we usually do anyway, and a short lead at times, and so long as we cleared up after him, which we also usually do anyway, he was allowed everywhere we went, just not inside a couple of places such as the porter’s lodge.

At the abbey, we should have taken the path to the left, but instead we took the path to the right, although we didn’t see Fountain’s Hall on this visit. We ended up on the wrong side of the water for the walk we were supposed to be doing, and we were diverted by signs to “Anne Boleyn’s seat”, which turned out to be a modern, wooden construction that took full advantage of the wonderful views available. And it was up hill … (I don’t really do hills … but it was fine).

We continued along this elevated path to the “temple of piety”, where a kindly gentleman took our picture for us. We were rewarded with some more stunning views. And we were surprised by the “octagon tower”, a lovely little summer house, behind which the poet caught his first sight of the glorious “Studley royal water gardens”, and he just wanted to get down there to have a closer look …

… only it wasn’t very clear which way to go and we ended up wandering through the pheasant farm and back instead, deciding to retrace our steps down the hill and see if we could find our way that way.

And then we saw someone emerge from a cave that we thought was just a grotto to the right of the octagon tower. So we went inside to investigate, realised it was a tunnel running beneath the tower, and the dog panicked halfway through and wanted to go back. He didn’t like it.

Sure enough, we ended up beside the water gardens, and found our way to the café, where we had a glass of pop each and a piece of cake. We toyed with continuing the walk outside the estate, but chose instead to make our way back along the path we should have come along in the first place.

We skipped the banqueting house but took several pictures across the water gardens and of the “temple of fame”. Then we climbed back up the hill to the car park for our picnic and then the drive home.

We were there for 2½ hours, we walked for 4.47 miles, and we burned around 650 calories.

New boots
My lovely walking boots are starting to let in. I’ve had them for nearly 3 years, as they were one of the first things the poet ever bought for me. I’m dreading having to break in new boots and am of the opinion that I’d sooner have wet feet than broken feet. BUT, needs must. So I’ll be starting to look around for a comfortable, lightweight pair of boots and any recommendations will be appreciated.

clumber park mapmywalk