This is a walk at Bolton Abbey, which is one of my favourite places, and one reason for that is all the little walks you can put together around the estate. So this is one of them.
This walk starts in the village, at the hole in the wall, which is a hole in the wall with a gate in it. I don’t know if they made the hole specifically for the gate, or if they widened an existing hole. But there is a hole, and through the hole is a path leading down to the priory ruins and the river.
The Bolton Abbey Estate is a very popular place, and this area tends to get extremely busy on nice days. We’re nowhere near the seaside, so this is where people go in lieu of a beach. This was a very nice day, and I’m glad I got there early before it started to get busy.
You go past the ruins, down to the river where there’s a bridge and stepping stones. Cross the river, whichever way you like, and then you’ve got one of two ways to go. One of the paths you have to go across the grass to find, the other one is obvious. I went up the obvious one, and it is up. The land is an incline, and this path just goes up and up until you’ve reached the highest point. It’s a bit tiring to do this relatively early in the walk, but from then it’s flat or down. The other path – which I’ve run along before – is a bit more up and down, and it never gets quite as high. They meet after a while.
Now I’ll just talk about a couple of interesting things along the way. That’s interesting by my definition, which may have a lower bar than other people’s. Fair warning.
So, there’s a couple of trees that have got handgrips built into them; like a climbing wall, but trees. The area they’re in is sort of cordoned off. It would be easy to bypass, but I guess it’s just to let people know the trees aren’t something anyone passing by should go up. But they were pretty fun just to look at, it’s a cool idea.
And there’s a money tree. It’s your fairly standard felled trunk, though it is one of the larger ones I’ve seen. There’s a curve in the path and the money tree is going between the two sides, which looks quite striking. It’s also rather tempting to walk or crawl across it, as it’s raised a bit off the ground.
Somewhere, as I mentioned, the path merges with the other one coming from the priory. I can’t remember exactly where, but they do merge.
And it’s just a nice walk in general, it’s very pretty countryside.
Eventually you come across a ford. From this area is a path leading to Cavendish Pavilion. You come out of the woods and it’s a very pleasant walk by the river until you reach the bridge. This is as far as I walked, although you can go on to other bits of the estate if you want. Or you can have a bit to eat at the Pavilion, a look in the shop, or just walk back.
I did stop for lunch, but that’s not really relevant to the walk. The fact that you can is relevant, I suppose, but not what I actually did.
You have a few choices which way back you go. You can go back the way you came, maybe take the other route when the path splits. Or you can walk back along the other side of the river, but that is mostly car park. The car park at Cavendish Pavilion just goes on forever, I presume for when they have events. If you go that way then you’ll eventually reach a field where you’re asked to ignore the path and make your own way across, as an erosion prevention measure. Then you go up some steps which come out near a fountain. Or you can just walk up the road that come down to the car park, which will also bring you out near the fountain.
The fountain was erected in 1886, in memory of Lord Frederick Cavendish, who was the Chief Secretary to Ireland who was murdered a few hours after arriving in Dublin. I only learnt this on this particular visit, as there’s also a memorial in the priory graveyard (he’s not buried here) and I bothered to read it this time. I figured the fountain was a memorial from the fact there was a name on it, but I didn’t learn any details. But that’s why it’s there.
There’s a gate through to the priory just a little down the road, and from there you can get back to the hole in the wall. I will talk about the priory a bit too, before I finish. As you’d probably gathered, it is the namesake of the village and the estate, although it is a priory rather than an abbey – not that I could really explain the difference, but I know there is one. It’s an Augustinian priory founded in 1154. It was briefly abandoned in the fourteenth century due to Scottish raids, then came the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth century, and the priory met the same fate as many others. However, part of the building was being used as the parish church, and that survived and is still in use today. So, half the building is an active church, the other is ruins.
There is quite a lot to the ruins, it’s good to look around. If you are walking past it I’d definitely say stop for a look. But I really like ruins anyway.
So that’s the walk. Thanks for reading. Photos here.