Studley Royal, Yorkshire

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.

a stone bridge

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.

reflections at Studley Royal

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.

an octagonal tower

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.

a long view, Studley Royal.

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

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.

Fountains Abbey

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.

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

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.

Fountains Abbey

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.

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

I can’t resist a bridge of course and there are a few like this one around the abbey.

bridge at Fountains 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.

Fountains Abbey, YorkshireFountains Abbey, Yorkshire

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.

Haworth, Yorkshire and Bronte Parsonage

I was thinking that it was just last year that we first visited Haworth (Bronte country) but it turns out that it was actually two years ago. How time flies! We didn’t do the tour of the house this time. Maddeningly I can’t find the photos which I took last time so I don’t have any of Haworth Parsonage interiors. Well that’s a good excuse to go back again and take some more, plus my husband fancies having a pint standing at the bar in The Black Bull where Branwell Bronte drank.

Anyway, here is a photo of the outside of Haworth Parsonage, which never changes much. It has been added on to over the years but this is the original part which is as it was when the Brontes lived there. It looks much bigger than it really is. Internally it’s exactly the same as my own house with four rooms downstairs, two either side of the front door. My house doesn’t look so grand, I think Georgian houses always look nicer than Victorian ones. There must also have been a wash-house too as all old houses had one, mine has been turned into a kitchen. They didn’t have a bathroom so had to make a trip to an outside toilet which can’t have been much fun but I suppose it was the same for everyone then.

House

The last time we were in Haworth we were in a hurry for some reason and we weren’t able to walk up to the moor, so we did that this time. This is the pathway up to the moor which is the one which the Brontes would have used. The path goes from the edge of the graveyard and it’s quite a steep hill. I took this photo on the way back down because on the way up I was so hot and puffed out that I didn’t notice what a lovely tree lined lane it is. They have drystane dykes in Yorkshire just like Scotland.

Trees + lane

And these are some photos of the moorland. This just looks exactly like a Scottish moor, the purple heather was just beginning to flower and next week it’ll look lovely but most of the year moors look bleak although there are usually loads of ground nesting birds like skylarks in the undergrowth.

Moor 1

Moor 3

Moor 2

The front windows of the parsonage look onto the graveyard which is very close to it. I have to admit that I enjoy looking around old graveyards but when I first saw this one it struck me immediately that it’s incredibly tightly packed with graves and when we did the tour of the house we learned that there were so many bodies packed into the ground around the parsonage that they didn’t deteriorate naturally as there wasn’t enough air in the earth. It meant that poisonous liquid from the bodies was leaking out and when it rained the very steep street was running with rainwater contaminated with dead bodies. The houses in Haworth also have cellars which poor people had to live in and the water flooded into them. It’s no wonder that Haworth had the highest rate of deaths in the whole of Britain at the time the Brontes lived there. Even although the parsonage is on higher ground than the graveyard, it didn’t stop the dining-room from being flooded when it rained heavily. The smell must have been appalling and it’s a miracle that any of the Brontes managed to reach adulthood given the circumstances.

Graveyard 2 (house)

Graveyard 1

Graveyard 3

This is a photo of the main street in Haworth which is just a short walk from the parsonage, not even one minute. The last time we were there there were quite a few empty shops but this time the whole place looked better and there are a couple of decent second-hand bookshops, an old-fashioned sweetie shop, vintage clothes shops as well as gift shops.

Street

I love it when I can stand in a street and see the hills nearby, just like the town which I grew up in. I hope I’ve managed to give a bit of a sense of Haworth to anyone who hasn’t been able to visit it. If you’re a Bronte fan, like myself it’s well worth a visit or two, or even three!