Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey

Route: Rievaulx Abbey and Helmsley Castle

Area: North Yorkshire

Date of walk: 18th September 2019

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 8.8 miles

Ascent: 1,000 feet

Weather: Grey skies but reasonably bright

It was good to be back in the market town of Helmsley again after too long an absence. Today’s walk started from the car park near the centre of the town, at the start of the long distance Cleveland Way, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. I followed the track leading away from Helmsley. There were various ups and down along the way, which followed the edges of Blackdale Howl Wood, Whinny Bank Wood and Quarry Bank Wood for much of the time. Eventually I emerged at 18th century Rievaulx Bridge over the River Rye, which I didn’t cross, and turned right here to follow the lane to Rievaulx Abbey

The Abbey, founded in the 12th century,  is under the stewardship of English Heritage, and a fee is payable by non-members. It’s worth the price of admission though as the ruins are extensive and set in glorious countryside. I spent an hour or so wandering around and then left via the entrance and walked through unspoilt Rievaulx village. I followed the lane for a short distance before turning off to join the waymarked path leading to Rievaulx Terrace, a National Trust property. The terrace has two temples, one at each end. The Ionic Temple is at the northern end, and the Tuscan Temple is at the southern end, and the two are separated by a grassy terrace about half a mile long. It’s a there and back walk, although variation is possible by walking through Terrace Bank Wood. However this would omit the glorious views over Rievaulx Abbey below, which were deliberately created when this landscape was formed

After leaving the terrace I followed a path beside the B1257 for a short distance before turning off to walk through the fields past Griff Farm. At nearby Griff Lodge I rejoined the Cleveland Way and retraced my footsteps back to the start. My arrival back in Helmsley marked the end of the walk, but not the end of the pleasure, as there remained time for visits to Helmsley Castle, followed by Helmsley Walled Garden. These are superb attractions for anyone in the area, and both are within easy reach of the Cleveland Way car park at the start. Despite the rather characterless weather it had been a superb walk, packed full of interest throughout

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