Thursday, 11 September 2014

Fabulous Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden

Our second full day in the dales saw him indoors celebrating his birthday.  We set off for Fountains Abbey with birthday boy attempting to suppress his excitement in case it wasn't what he was hoping for.

He wasn't disappointed.  If you've never been to Fountains Abbey, you only need to know it was very high on the list of abbeys to be obtained by Henry VIII, due to the scale and the wealth created by the monks who lived and worked there.  Fountains Abbey is a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Big huh?  The tower you see to the left is around 170 feet high and was completed just before the dissolution.  The two storey lay brothers accommodation to the right is allegedly 300 feet long, and has a fab vaulted cellar. 

There are beautiful views and fab medieval windows all over the place, it is so atmospheric.  I could happily spend one day a week roaming around this enormous site, just discovering new nooks and crannies.

I love this window in the warming house (see the large walk-in fireplace to the left).  I do like having people in shots sometimes, him indoors is over six feet tall so gives a good indication of scale.

 All the pretty colours of the local stone are visible on the pillars in this shot, those arches are approximately 25 feet high. 

Looking towards the East of the church, and through to the window in the chapel of the nine alters

The huge archway into the perpendicular tower from the main church via the North transept, the last part of Fountains to be built in the early 1500's

View from the nave towards the chapel of the nine alters at the East of the church, at an estimate that window is over 60 feet high, and would have been filled with glass.  It is also over 700 years old!!

 View of the East side, through to the West side.

 The cloister (and me!)

View looking West to South, note the use of artificial turf in front of the West door

Him indoors, modelling the Nave 

View through the West door.  I find it staggering that these buildings were constructed over 700 years ago with no machinery or metal scaffolding.  At Fountains, as you walk along the pathway next to the Perpendicular tower, you can actually see where they cut the stone out of the ground.  If you use Google street view you can actually visit Fountains yourself and see! 

I took a staggering amount of photos at Fountains, there is so much to see.  From the abbey we had a look at the mill, which was in operation up to the early 20th century.  The wheel has been put back into operation and generates electricity.  The original wooden door is encased in perspex as a previous tenant miller carved his name in it over 200 years ago!


After the dissolution of Fountains, the stonework was re-used nearby to construct a grand house, Fountains Hall, which is still habitable, despite being 400 years old.

 From Fountains Hall we went back to the car for our packed lunch.  Then, we drove to the other end of the Fountains site to visit the water gardens, yes, the place is that big!

 Wide canals stretching as far as the eye can see, follies and statues dotted all around

Little bridges, waterfalls and statues were to be seen all over the place.  Lots of wildlife too, taking advantage of the tranquility

Unbelievably, there were still more things to explore, so we returned further on in our holiday to finish our visit to Fountains.

When we arrived home, our little alarm clock was waiting for us!  More of him later....


  1. Fountains Abbey looks incredible, I love the arches, the folly and the bizarre statue.
    Happy belated birthday to your man. xxx

  2. What gorgeous photos of a stunning place. I do love my architecture and history! xxx

  3. How fun to explore these places! I love the patina left by age- the algae green on the bones of the church structure, the way the light falls into the tall windows, and the fact that we 21st centurians don't hold a candle to the triumphs of our species history. Great pics- thanks for sharing. Keep exploring and sharing, please!


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