|1986||Inscribed||Reasons for inscription|Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):
From the beautiful spa town of Harrogate, after having a nice breakfast at the famous Betty’s Tea Room, I took a conveniently bus line 36 to the city of Ripon to visit the famous Royal Studley Park, a World Heritage Site and reportedly one of the best site to visit in the historical Yorkshire. Instead of walking to the park from Ripon like many tourists, I decided to take an alternative route by starting my walk from Lead Lane which is located along the bus route before Ripon. From Lead Lane I walked thru residential zone until I reached a small river and crossed the bridge, after crisscrossing the farm along the trekking route I finally reached the gate of the Deer Park.
The famed Royal Studley Park could easily be divided into 3 areas, Deer Park, Water Gardens and Ruins of Fountain Abbey. In Deer Park, the park landscape was a mix of light forest and English Garden, the centerpiece of the area was the Gothic St Mary Church and its straight road that cut the park into two and made a visual link between the church and Ripon Cathedral, a really nice landscape design that rarely fine in England. The park was said to have deer, but I could not find anyone of them. After Deer Park I continued south to the Water Gardens, it was here where I have to pay entry ticket. The garden was quite a popular place for tourists, I made a visit on a cold and cloudy weekday in February, but I still found more than a hundred people walking in this place. The gardens were located in the valley with lovely designed ponds and water channels decorated with medieval tower, Greek temple and marble statues. At Anne Boleyn’s chair, the views of the gardens were just pretty and it was here that I saw a first view of the Fountain Abbey. Overall the Water Garden was truly an enchanted landscape full with surprised and wonder of why it was here in this corner of nowhere.
The last part of the park was the ruins of Fountain Abbey. The ruins was really big, and many part of the ruins were still in good shape and beautiful. The ruins itself was worthwhile to visit. After the ruins I walked to the Mills to have lunch, and then walked back to the Water Garden to see the beautiful landscape in the different angle before continued back to Deer Park and the city of Ripon via the seven bridges route. It was a nice visit, the landscape was lovely and really made me comparing with the beautiful gardens in Suzhou. Even though the Studley Garden and Suzhou gardens were built in different culture, they shared many similarities of strolling landscape garden idea, the designers laid these gardens to surprise viewer every turns by using structures or even trees as borrowed landmark, the ruins of Fountain Abbey was a great example of this trick which cleverly use the valley landscape to hind and dictate the sight of viewers until the last minute at Anne Boleyn’s chair. After back to Harrogate, I had a high tea at Betty’s Tea Room again, a perfect way to end this memorable day.
Date posted: March 2013 Ian Cade (England):
This was a great place to spend a leisurely afternoon and was one of the more impressive WHS I have visited in England. The planned gardens were particularly impressive especially the highly formal water garden. Many of the gardens I have visited in the UK have a folly as their focal point, however here the huge remains of Fountains Abbey provide a much better focus. The view from Anne Boleyn’s chair is magnificent and shows the best aspects of this planned landscape. I was actually surprised by how extensive the ruins of the abbey were, I was expecting a small church and maybe a few crumbling walls. However the ruins were very large reflecting the fact that this was one of England’s largest abbeys.
You have to pay to enter the formal gardens and abbey, however all are free to walk through the Deer Park and visit the impressive neo-Gothic St Mary’s church, both of there are really great additions to the world heritage site.
The site is located just outside of Ripon in north Yorkshire. If you don’t have your own transport then there are regular buses on Sunday’s and few infrequent ones the rest of the week. I unfortunately missed one of the few busses on the Saturday that I visited. However I had half expected this and was prepared for the pleasant 5km walk from the town centre to the start of the gardens proper. It was nice to get into the countryside, and although it wasn’t particularly well signposted there always seemed to be a friendly local on hand whenever I reached a cross roads.
This was one of the better WHS I have visited in Britain and the layout of the formal gardens when mixed with the extensive abbey ruins made this a very rewarding site visit.
Date posted: July 2010 John Booth (New Zealand):
To get to Fountains Abbey I took a #36 bus from Harrogate to Ripon from where there was a #139 minibus that took me to the visitor centre inside the park. From there it was a short distance to the ruins of Fountains Abbey, which are quite extensive and take some time to explore.
From the abbey I contined through the Studley Royal water garden, past temples, lakes and follies to the deer park. Later I returned to the visitor centre by way of St Mary's church to catch the minibus back to Ripon.
Date posted: May 2010 Chris (Northern Ireland):
The Ruins of Fountains Abbey is a really mystical and magical place to be, well worth the visit!
Would recommend that you spend atleast half a day there if you are in the area.
Have you been to Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey ? Share your experiences!