Every year when I come back to Ripon, I make sure to fit in a walk to Fountains Abbey. Last year in May, I described that day out in three posts, starting here. I know the route well enough now not to need a map anymore, but the Monks Walk took a different approach on paths I'd never walked on before, and so I decided I was going to do that on the Thursday of my week in Ripon.
The walk starts from the market square and leads along the river for a while. It was cool and shady there:
I did end up at the right place, though, near Hell Wath, and from there on, the description was once again unmistakably clear.
It was the hottest day of that week, sunny and bright, and walking through woodland was welcome. I did not meet a soul until I reached the entrance gate to the Fountains Abbey grounds, where I came across a young couple carrying a picknick basket and later a group of girls resting in the shade. Following their example, I sat under a tree and had my own little picknick before I walked on.
This part of the grounds is called "Valley of the Seven Bridges", and it is as romantic as it sounds. What is normally a shallow river was now almost completely dry - I'd never seen it that way before!
The Monks Walk led back along the long, straight road between Studley Royal / Fountains Abbey and Ripon, but left that road at a certain point to go across the grass and to a gate in the wall.
The rest of the walk back into Ripon was the one I know well.
Combining this walk with walking from Littlethorpe (where my sil lives and where I was staying all week) into Ripon, and later back from Ripon to Littlethorpe, once again I walked for about 10 miles that day, and enjoyed every minute of it.