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davidx Ripon - A travel report by David
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Ripon,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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davidx's travel reports

Ripon Cathedral, Brimham Rocks and Fountains Abbey

  17 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Three Yorkshire sights in fair proximity, one manmade, whole and flourishing, one natural oddity and one manmade and manruined but still of massive beauty and interest.

West Front, Ripon Cathedral
West Front, Ripon Cathedral
There are two cathedral cities in Yorkshire, York and Ripon. York is one of England’s best-known cities and deservedly so. Ripon is not in that league but is sadly undersung, perhaps as a result of unnecessary comparisons. I wonder how many English people would mention it, if asked to list their top twelve. Yet none can beat its carvings on the stalls in the choir. Perhaps one reason is that, unlike many of our cathedrals, it was not built to tower over the countryside and act as a beacon. That would have been foolish when raids from Scotland could reasonably be expected. In that respect it’s more like St David’s in Wales, built not to be obvious to Irish raiders. St Wilfred was responsible for the building of the first basilica on the site in the 7th century and the crypt of that church still survives. The second minster ran foul of William the Conqueror so we are looking now at the third. The fine west front was added in the early 14th century. Those outstanding carvings on the choir stalls date from the late 15th century. Another predominant feature is the east window, which is over 50 feet high. The other main feature that you want to see before leaving Ripon is the 14th century Wakeman’s House, now a museum of local interest. It may no longer be the Wakeman’s residence but there still is a Wakeman! Every night as he, [or rather previous Wakemen!] have done for the last thousand years he wears a tricorn hat and blows his horn to announce the start of his watch. I’m not kidding. land/North_Yorkshire-/Ripon Only a short way south of Ripon is the village of Ripley with a castle and stocks. It was modelled on French lines in the first part of the 19th century. With a large carpark and public toilets, Ripley can be a fine stop for a picnic or other break on a longer journey.

Favourite spots:
Fountains Abbey 1
Fountains Abbey 1
The Cistercian order of monks split from the Benedictines at the end of the 11th century and their main base wes Clairveau in France. Their first base in northern England was Rievaulx, north of York. Fountains was founded in 1133 by some monks who defected from a Benedictine House in York and was admitted to the Cistercian Order in 1335. It became really wealthy and owned much land over a wide area. How did it cope with the distances involved when the monks were not allowed to go further than they could return the same day? The answer was the extensive use of lay brothers, who didn’t have the education to become monks. The abbey would seem to have deteriorated somewhat in the 15th century but, regardless of that, its fate was inevitably sealed when Henry VIII brought about the dissolution of the monasteries. Today it is one of the most extensive of the Yorkshire Abbey remains with a magic setting abutting onto the grounds of the Studley Royal Estate – see later.

What's really great:
Some of the rocks, Brimham
Some of the rocks, Brimham
Brimham Rocks are only a few miles from Fountains and, like it, are owned by the National Trust [a private charity]. The website is so good that it hardly seems worth doing anything here other than recommend it. However I will say that these are gritstone rocks that are formed in the most amazing shapes. You can see pictures on and there is a serious section on the geology as well. There is a refreshment kiosk and shop.

Autumn at Studely Royal
Autumn at Studely Royal
The Studley Royal Estate, bordering Fountains Abbey is well worth seeing whilst you are there. I know that our members to the east of North America have the best fall scenery but you will certainly see some splendid colours here in the Autumn.

Fountains Abbey 2
Fountains Abbey 2
I have not actually stayed in the area but there is no shortage of choice. ngland/North_Yorkshire/Ripon/Fou ntains_Abbey/hotels.

www.iknow-york st_dales/all_prices/all_types/b ed_and_breakfast/

Fountains Abbey 3
Fountains Abbey 3
The Boar’s Head, Ripley and the Sportsman’s Arms in the picturesque village of Wath in Niddersdale are the only ones I’ve tried. Both are good.

Other recommendations:
Choir stall, Ripon Cathedral
Choir stall, Ripon Cathedral
Brimham Rocks are in Nidderdale. For some reason beyond human comprehension – or for none – Nidderdale isn’t included in the Yorkshire Dales National Park but it possesses some spots of great beauty and interest. will see you right and I particularly recommend the lovely and impressive How Stean Gorge.

Published on Thursday March 3th, 2005

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Tue, Mar 29 2005 - 03:08 PM rating by mtlorensen

Interesting report and the photo of Studely Royal is breathtaking!

Sun, Mar 06 2005 - 05:13 AM rating by britman

Now reading this report in Thailand and beginning to feel homesick! Well written, as usual, well illustrated too.

Fri, Mar 04 2005 - 04:44 PM rating by rangutan

Great report! The pictures to your reports are alway wonderfull, your autumn picture here is another ***** beauty.

Fri, Mar 04 2005 - 12:08 AM rating by gloriajames

great autumn pic !

Thu, Mar 03 2005 - 02:12 PM rating by magsalex

Love the colours at Studley and Ripon Cathedral looks tremendous

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