Post 214: 12 November 2017
On the second day our visitors were with us from the Lake District, the ladies again decided on a shopping morning, this time in Helmsley. I decided to take John on a short walk near Rievaulx Abbey and then to Helmsley to then meet the ladies for lunch.
We were greeted at the Abbey by a somewhat aggressive pheasant, which pursued us for food.
We eventually escaped from the persistent bird to pass Rievaulx Abbey.
The Cistercian Abbey was founded by Walter L’Espec in 1132. Its importance can be judged by the fact that thirty-five years after it was founded there were 140 monks, 249 lay brothers and 260 hired laymen, a large community. The Abbey nestles in a tree-covered valley whose narrowness accounts for the fact that the church is aligned from north to south instead of from the usual east to west. The monks created great wealth, from sheep farming (at one time they owned 14,000 sheep), iron working, fishing and salt production on the coast. Canals were used for floating blocks of stone on rafts from the River Rye to the Abbey for carving. Around the time of the Dissolution, however, the abbey declined and fell into debt and by 1536 only twenty-two monks remained. After 400 years of life, the site was eventually stripped for building stone and, in due course passed to the Duncombe family. It was acquired by the state in 1918, and is now superbly looked after by English Heritage.
We crossed the River Rye at a bridge and then ascended the hillside on the opposite side of the river from the Abbey. There were delightful views in bright sunshine.
A temple on Rievaulx Terrace high above peeped out through the trees.
We eventually reached the quiet lane leading over Rievaulx Bridge to join The North of England Way and Cleveland Way leading to Helmsley.
We then reached a ‘traffic jam’ of horses.
Before a final look back towards Rievaulx Abbey.
Afte passing through Blackdale Howl Wood we made the final descent to Helmsley with a fine view of the castle.
Helmsley lies under the southern edge of the North York Moors and is a typical small market town, with a large market place surrounded by old inns and interesting shops. Its ruined castle stands high on a mound overlooking the town. It was built in about 1200 and was later besieged by Parliamentary forces after the battle of Marston Moor and The fall of York during the Civil War. The castle was finally surrendered on 22 November 1644 after a three-month siege. Between 1646 and 1647 the castle was made unfit for war with parts of the keep and the walls being destroyed. It is now in the hands of English Heritage.
We went to Mannion’s for lunch and I had the best pork belly I had ever had in a sandwich.
We then drove to the Robert Fuller Gallery in Thixendale (www.RobertEFuller.com) but on the way the heavens opened and on a very narrow lane we hit, with an big bump, an enormous pothole which was hidden by the rain. The next day a tyre was deflated but after air was pumped into it the garage checked it but couldn’t find a leak. A bit of a mystery.
The next morning a new DVD, which I had pre-ordered, arrived. It is well worth purchasing from wwstridingedge.com as it relates the life of Alan Hinkes who remains the first and only Briton to climb the 14 highest mountains in the World over 8,000 metres. An incredible feat.
Miles Walked 5