This was a walk I did on a lovely sunny autumn afternoon while camping near Skipton in North Yorkshire. While Bolton Abbey village itself is tiny the whole estate encompasses 33,000 acres of land including an ancient woodland and eight miles of the River Wharfe, and it’s owned by the Cavendish family who also own Chatsworth House in Derbyshire and Lismore Castle in Southern Ireland. There are three car parks in different parts of the estate and the fee for parking includes using any or all of them on the same day, and my walk started at the one in the village itself.
A short distance along the road from that car park a large ‘hole’ had been made in the stone wall bordering the pavement, and a wooden gate and wide steps took me down from there to a path which wound its way across open grassland towards the old priory and the river. Crossing the river by the bridge – with two dogs in tow I wasn’t brave (or daft) enough to try using the nearby stepping stones – I passed a wide sand and shingle beach and followed the contours of the land round a large horseshoe-shaped bend in the river.
Just after the bend the path disappeared into woodland and I walked for quite a distance before emerging back out at the riverside with more open grassland to my right. Up ahead was another bridge and though I could have continued on the same side of the river I decided to cross the bridge – the Pavilion Cafe was across the far side so it was an opportunity to stop for coffee and cake before continuing my walk along the other side of the river.
Close to the cafe a gate led to the start of a large well kept grass parking area which extended for quite a distance along the riverside, and across the river I could see the path I’d just walked along. Even though it was October the weather was still quite warm and as I walked through the parking area I saw a few families enjoying picnics on the grass near their cars. Leaving the parking area behind a minor path took me across open land and up an incline to the beginning of the long driveway down to the parking area, and I emerged onto the road by the Cavendish Monument.
Walking along the road from the monument I had several opportunities to take some shots overlooking the river, and looking at one particular bend reminded me of a time a few years previously when, on a day out with my partner and some friends, I’d gone sailing down that stretch on a pink inflatable armchair – it was great fun but regrettably I’d never had the opportunity to repeat it.
It wasn’t long before I came to another gate and some wide steps leading back to the riverside and the ruined priory; it was a fascinating place and I spent quite some time wandering round and taking photos. Eventually though it was time to go so I made my way round the back of the adjoining church, past Bolton Abbey Hall and its lawns and along the driveway, emerging back onto the road not far from the ‘hole’ in the stone wall, from where it was only a short distance back to the van.
I’d been to Bolton Abbey a few times in previous years but only ever in summer so that was the first time I’d visited in autumn and I was glad I went. The landscape and views were lovely and the autumn colours of the trees really stood out in the sunshine so I got some great shots on my walk. Bolton Abbey is a lovely place and one I would certainly go back to again – and for those who have never been, all I can say is go if you can, you won’t be disappointed.
Linking this with Jo’s Monday Walk where this time she’s been strolling around under a blue sky along the banks of the River Arno in the lovely Italian city of Florence.