A bright summer morning, the ruins of an old abbey and wild flowers everywhere. The air was full of the scent of flowers and we could hear birds, bees and sheep in the distance. It was a winning combination.
The peaceful surroundings of Jervaulx Abbey
A Wealthy Heritage
Jervaulx Abbey is in the Yorkshire Dales, an area that seems to be full of ruined abbeys. In medieval times the monasteries were powerful landowners, made rich by the profits from sheep rearing. Jervaulx itself was endowed by the Cistercians in the 12th century and became famous for breeding horses. The monks also created the original recipe for the local Wensleydale cheese.
A monastic figure greets you as you enter the Abbey grounds
But everything was to change in the 16th century, when Jervaulx Abbey took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, a Yorkshire uprising against Henry VIII. The monastery was subsequently dissolved and later plundered for building materials.
Jervaulx Abbey Today
Unusually, the Abbey is privately owned and over recent years the owners have worked hard to excavate the ruins and to piece together the history of the place. They are happy for visitors to walk around the abbey (there is an honesty box by the entrance) and to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
You can walk through the remains of rooms that were once inhabited by the monks
When you have finished wandering around the abbey take the opportunity to visit the tearoom (by the car park) and look at the exhibition of the Abbey’s past. And if you are tempted to stay a little longer there is also a guest house and a camp and caravan site.