After yesterday’s rather desultory wandering about, we thought a more structured approach was called for today.  Yorkshire does things in a big way.  When it comes to ruined abbeys it’s difficult to beat and Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley, is the daddy of them all…

After breakfast we heard the now familiar toot-toot of an engine and saw clouds of white smoke over the top of the trees in the valley.  Peter grabbed the camera and ran down the grassy slope, Jenny Agutter style, determined to catch sight of the train as it made its way down to Pickering.  I thought he must have been mad and would never make it in time but he came back triumphant!

DSC_0258DSC_0263On the farm, baling was in progress – quite early Peter thought.  Maybe the farmers knew something we didn’t?


We started on our journey to the Abbey, passing by the Fylingdales Early Warning station, which is quite close to the campsite.

DSC_0280Rievaulx is near Helmsley, another pretty market town, bustling with people and cars of course.  I think, maybe, we are here at the wrong time of year to really appreciate these attractive Yorkshire towns.

DSC_0374DSC_0379When we got to the Abbey we were relieved to see that the car park wasn’t heaving with cars, however, and even Bessie found a space quite easily.  We had a complimentary audio tour each, which we always find easier than trying to follow a printed sheet, and there is an separate indoor exhibition which houses some of the interesting archaeological finds recently discovered on the site and gives some background to the Abbey.

DSC06914Rievaulx was founded in 1132 by St Bernard of Clairvaux as part of the missionary effort to reform Christianity in western Europe and enjoying the protection of Walter Espec of nearby Helmsley Castle who provided much of the land.  The third Abbot there, Aelred, was much revered and was canonised after his death in 1167.

The Abbey was still a vibrant community when Henry VIII disolved it in 1538 and its new owner, Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, swiftly instigated destruction of the buildings although, as you can see, there is still a lot to see.

DSC_0305DSC06922DSC_0311DSC06928DSC_0316DSC_0319DSC_0322DSC_0323DSC06943DSC_0336DSC06957DSC_0357There is an excellent café at this English Heritage site and we enjoyed some huge pieces of cake with our coffee afterwards in the sunshine!


On our journey back to the campsite, one of the few thatched cottages we have seen in this area.

DSC_0365An interesting day and a lovely warm one too.