YORKSHIRE has always done abbeys well.

However of the many that pepper the landscape I do believe that Rievaulx Abbey is my favourite. When the late autumn light strikes the abbey remains there is not a better site to behold.

This is a short walk which majors on Rievaulx Abbey and the views of it but also explores the little hamlet that grew up around the abbey and a pleasant stroll in the woods.

Parking is best on the lane outside the abbey remains although it may be possible to park in the abbey car park (at a cost but refundable if you enter the abbey grounds).

From here head north with the River Rye on your left in to the immaculate buildings that remain of the old village of Rievaulx. Where the road bends take the footpath headed to Bow Bridge.

The path heads on the left side of the hedge and it is possible to see the small canal which was built by the monks to supply water to the abbey.

Carry along the gravel track till it meets the river near Crabtree Hall. Cross the river over Bow Bridge.

Once you have crossed the river follow the road for a further 150 metres before taking a left turn in to Ashberry Woods (signposted Ashberry).

The path climbs a little as it enters the woods which provides some good views through the trees to the abbey. The impressive and classic temples are well seen from here.

Follow the path through the woods for half a mile till it starts to gradually drop towards a road, passing just above Ashberry Farm.

As the path descends there are some good views down Ryedale (away from the abbey).

On reaching the road turn left over a red bridge and immediately left again before passing over the River Rye at Rievaulx Bridge.

It is then a final half mile stroll back to the car at the abbey.

You may well wish to explore the abbey in more details.

It is managed by English Heritage and costs £8 for an adult to enter. There is a café and shop.

Rievaulx Abbey was the first Cistercian Abbey to be built in England and took about 40 years to complete during the mid 12th century.

At its peak over 600 monks and lay helpers lived here but by the time Henry VIII sort a solution to his marital problems in 1538 there was little more than a dozen living there.

They made their livings though mining lead and iron, sheep farming and selling wool to European merchants.

It did become one of the richest abbeys in the country and in my opinion must have been one of the most beautiful.

It still is which is why exploring the area around in this short walk makes for such an enjoyable outing.


Distance: Roughly 2.5 miles.

Height to Climb: 100 metres (320 feet).

Start: SE 575851. Park on the road outside the abbey or in the abbey car park if you wish to visit its remains.

Difficulty: Easy.

Refreshments: There is a café run by English Heritage at the abbey, alternatively head towards the nearest main town, Helmsley 3 miles away.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL26) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales:

•Jonathan has written a book, the “Dales 30” which describes the highest mountains in the Dales

•Join his Navigation Course in October for Beginners or Intermediates.

•Offers a Guiding serve for those less confident in the outdoors

To find out more details on any of the above and details of the 100s of walks in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors visit his popular website, Where2walk.co.uk https://where2walk. co.uk/