Studley Royal is a water garden, owned by English National Trust which adjoins Fountains Abbey, it was created in the 1700s and its setting is very artificial looking compared with all the trees which surround it, but gardening has always been about fashion and I suppose the moulding and taming of the natural water to a man made shape was popular then. The photo below seems quite foreshortened somehow, it was actually taken quite a long way away from the bridge. The whole place is covered with hundreds of pheasants, you can just see a couple of them in the foreground. It was a surprise to me that there were so many of them because I thought that they mainly spent their time hanging about on the edges of roads, trying to chuck themselves in front of cars. They are handsome looking birds but terrifyingly stupid.
The photo below is taken from quite high up on the opposite bank from Fountains Abbey, as you can see, some of the trees were just beginning to get into their autumn colours. The water is home to quite a variety of birds.
This octagonal tower is one of several ‘folly’ like structures in the gardens, the others are mini classical temples but I thought this was the prettiest of them.
I couldn’t resist another view of the tree reflections. Studley Royal is a lovely place to visit, even on a cold and slightly misty autumn day. It involves quite a lot of walking and some steep paths but it’s well worth it if you’re fit enough. If you aren’t up to it then you can just enjoy the view from the water’s edge. You can see more views here.
Well it is that season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and this was what Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire looked like last week when we visited it. It was a Cistercian Abbey and the grounds lead into Studley Royal which is a beautiful water garden which was created in the 1700s, but more about that in another post.
It didn’t look quite so misty close up, but it was very chilly and I imagine it must have been bitterly cold for the monks who lived here, they first settled in this area in 1132. In fact there was a party of schoolchildren there at the same time as us and they got to dress up in monks’ habits, hoods and all. I actually envied them as they looked a lot warmer in them than I felt.
There’s still quite a lot of the main building left and there’s a great model in the Porter’s Lodge which shows how large the whole place was in its heyday. A lot of the buildings have just disappeared.
The setting is beautiful with streams and fountains leading in to the river which would have provided the monks with fish. They were very good businessmen and turned the surrounding land into productive farmland for crops and sheep.
I can’t resist a bridge of course and there are a few like this one around the abbey.
This abbey was one of the many casualties of Henry VIII and his disagreement with the Pope in order to get his hands on Anne Boleyn. It had been one of the richest abbeys in Europe until then.
There’s a lot of walking involved if you want to go around the adjoining water gardens too so flat shoes are required, but it’s a lovely place and is well worth a visit, I’ll be posting those photos soon I hope.