Fountains Abbey, Ripon, England

Cruising Northern England: Fountains Abbey

From York, we drove to north to Ripon to visit Fountains Abbey. Our B&B was St. George's Court , a working farm that looked quite Italian to my eye. We stayed in old stone cow biers that had been converted into lovely rooms. You can see how thick the walls were from a window in our room.

Their cows had recently calved and the yard was full of assorted fowl - peacocks, guinea hens, chickens - who kept us entertained (and fed with fresh eggs!) during breakfast.

We got to Fountains Abbey early in the morning, before they opened as it turned out. We had some bread from breakfast to feed the geese and ducks, billed as "the tamest geese in England". As you can see, they were amazingly polite birds and took their treats more gently than some dogs I know.

While waiting for the abbey to open, we decided to go for a walk in what we thought were the Studley Royal gardens. We found ourselves passing through a lovely valley which closed into a narrow gorge beside the little river Skell, with bridges criss-crossing over. We later learned that this was a prime example of the picturesque landscape style (~1750's) as opposed to the more formal gardens elsewhere on the estate. The river's course had been moved back and forth for maximum gracefulness!

It was a beautiful morning and we went on and on, from one gorgeous view to another until we emerged from the valley deep into the countryside. Fountains Abbey had been left far behind. Now the question was how to get back...

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No unauthorized reproduction. Thank you. Text by Nan. Photos Copyright ©2003 Nan Hamilton