A brief peak through the opening in the stone wall at the Bolton Abbey Estate and you know you want to see more of where the path leads you.
We had just enough time for a quick stop here on our way to York, but it was long enough to know we definitely will return to explore more of this expansive and beautiful estate in the future.
Located near Wharfdale and Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales, the Bolton Abbey website shares some facts about the property: 30,000 acres in size, 14,000 acres of heather moorland, 14,000 acres of agricultural land, 1500 acres of woods, 198 residential properties, 54 farms, 80 commercial properties of which 54 are listed, and 80 miles of footpaths. The estate is owned by the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees and has been managed by the Devonshire family since 1755. It remains the Yorkshire seat of the 12th Duke of Devonshire. Which if you know Chatsworth in the Peak District, one of my all time favourite places, it is indeed the same family.
At the heart if Bolton Abbey Estate lies the Priory Church and ruins of an Augustinian Priory in its beautiful riverside setting. The land was gifted to the Augustinian canons by Alice de Rumbly in 1154. The canons lived and worshipped here until 1539 when the dissolution of the monasteries stripped the Priory of its assets. History lovers will enjoy the story of Prior Moone and how he negotiated with Cromwell to secure the nave as a place of worship for the local community and how the church continues to thrive to this day. (from the Bolton Abbey website)
Down at the river the stepping stones are another well known feature of the estate. In ancient times they were the crossing point for the lay workers of the abbey. As you can see on the left the water was too high to attempt a try this time, but there is also a bridge crossing option too.
Around the other side of the ruins is the church and the interior entryway.
The church is open every day of the year, and guided visits are possible by booking through the estate.
The church and the ruins from the side opposite the river.
Across from the Priory the hall remains private but the architecture adds to the beauty and history of the scene. The countryside Yorkshire setting of the Priory and ruins has inspired works for such artists as Turner, Ruskin and Royle as well as the poet Wordsworth.
Other interesting features on the property include a waterfall, an ancient aqueduct, a tower, historic oak tree over 800 years old and more, with plenty of walking paths to enjoy the woods, wildlife and nature.
If you are looking for a place to stay there are options ranging from the Devonshire Arms, a country house hotel, which we drove by and looked very inviting, to cottages, BandB’s and camping. Satisfying your hunger after a healthy walk over the dales gives you options from fine dining to a tea room in the woods.
I can see even more now the necessity to return so I can provide a more complete report!:)
Exiting and looking back down the leafy fall lane.
Back on the road and time for a quick photo stop after crossing the stone bridge.
On towards York and finding our cottage for the night and dreaming of returning to Bolton Abbey another time, hopefully with some sunshine.