Fountains Abbey

Route: Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Area: North Yorkshire

Date of walk: 27th October 2017

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly 

Distance:  7.8 miles

Weather: Sunny

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is a World Heritage Site and makes for a wonderful visit, especially when combined with a walk. There are several possible routes, as the estate contains numerous paths both within the grounds and around the perimeter. We parked in the visitor centre and made our way to the atmospheric ruins of Fountains Abbey which were looking at their best on a glorious autumn morning

After wandering around for a while we walked through the adjacent Studley Royal Water Garden, laid out in the 18th century by John Aislabie to impress his guests, and containing follies, statues and eye-catching vistas. It’s a stunning garden, and the strength of the design is such that it doesn’t matter that it’s a garden with no flowers

At the end of the gardens we walked round The Lake, crossed the footbridge over the weir, and set off along the waymarked Seven Bridges Walk, which follows the River Skell, criss-crossing from bank to bank by means of 5 old arched bridges (being the remaining ones of the original 7). After crossing the final bridge we climbed uphill and followed a bridleway which brought us to Mackershaw Lodge. The purpose of this old building, which has the appearance of a gatehouse, is unknown and it’s thought that it may have been built purely as the focal point of a distant view 

After passing through the lodge we arrived in Mackershaw Deer Park, where we had good sightings of a herd of red deer. The path through the park brought us down to The Lake and from here we meandered through the water gardens and the abbey back to the start of a walk which had been full of interest and beauty every step of the way

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