Jo’s Monday walk : Guisborough Forest and the Priory

The ruins of Gisborough Priory

The ruins of Gisborough Priory

On Easter Monday I wasn’t sure whether I should take you on a little local walk, or something more grand.  Well, Gisborough Priory was once very grand indeed.  Now just a ruin, it nevertheless sits at the heart of one of North Yorkshire’s finest market towns, Guisborough.

English being the funny old language that it is, Guisborough town is spelt with a ‘u’, but Gisborough Priory and nearby Gisborough Hall are spelt without.  You can check the Wikipedia links for the where’s and why for’s later, but it’s time to grab your coat, and off we go.

From the car park, at the back of Westgate, turn right down Bow St.  The houses are an appealing mix of stone and whitewash.  In gentle sunshine, a magnolia unfurls.  Just before the railway bridge, a series of steps lead up to a footpath.  If you turn left, it crosses over the bridge.  The railway is long gone but it makes a pleasant enough path around the back of Guisborough.

This magnolia was a beauty!

This magnolia’s a beauty!

The forest or Commondale?

Choices!  Choices!

You can turn right and head for the forest, but beware!   You never know what creatures are lurking in these woods.  It’s ok though- most of them are friendly.

Good morning Mr. Fox!

Good morning Mr. Fox!

And a whole family of sleepy owls!

Sssh!  Don’t wake the owls!

But today we’ll take the shorter route.  Choose the junction to the left, signed Cleveland Street Trail, and follow the path.  You will cross an open field and might have a friendly encounter with a sheep or two.  A frisky herd of horses live at the top of the field. Normally they’ll just keep an eye on you.  Don’t panic if they come to investigate.

The trail ends opposite this gatehouse

The trail ends opposite this gatehouse

Nice, isn't it?

Nice, isn’t it?

Not this grand entry for you, though!  Tradesman’s entrance!  A few yards to the left, a more modest footpath skirts the boundaries and takes you along the Monk’s Walk, through the woods.

And there's the priory, across a field

And there’s the priory, across a field

There's not much to it, when you get up close

There’s not much to it, when you get up close.  Gisborough Priory is a ruined Augustinian priory. It was founded in 1119 as the Priory of St. Mary by Robert de Brus, an ancestor of the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, and became one of the richest monastic foundations in England.  In 1289 a fire destroyed much of the Romanesque Norman priory, but it was rebuilt in yet grander style.

The priory was prosperous until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540.  At this time it was demolished and the stone re-used in other buildings in Guisborough.  The east end of the church was left standing- a rather romantic image.

But the arches are pleasing

With rather pleasing arches

If you are interested in the history there is a quite substantial amount of it in Wikipedia.   Also on the site are fragments of the lower courses of the west range, a vaulted undercroft, a gateway and a 14th century dovecote, along with the Priory gardens.

Gisborough Priory is an English Heritage site and instructions on getting here are contained in the link.  There’s also the cutest ‘Brother Ted Bear’ for sale but I warn you, he doesn’t come cheap. Nor does the parking in the main town car park.  You can also walk from nearby Pinchinthorpe through the Guisborough Forest into town if you’re feeling energetic.

In Guisborough centre you will find a number of tearooms- mostly hidden around corners, so poke about a bit.  A more substantial meal can be had in several of the pubs on the main street.

So there you are.  I hope you have a lovely day!  If you would like to join in with Jo’s Monday walk, it’s simple enough.  You can link a post back to me, or you can simply leave a link to a walk you like in my comments below.  It can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, and you can join in any day of the week.  I just like to see where you’ve been.  Nosy, I guess.  Happy walking!

First up, Yvette’s taking us to Richmond, VA :

Then Amy- avoiding the snakes, I hope! :

And Dale, having fun in the sun :


  1. The wood carvings of the owls and the fox seem to be untouched, I believe, when the priory was abandoned. They are now almost 900 years old if they were made in the 11th century. How large are they? The wooden fox looks big…

    Thanks for sharing these photos… 🙂

  2. Jo, I love the unfurling magnolia, the crossroads sign, and the critters in the woods. 🙂 I love what is left of the ruined priory too. It reminds me a bit of the ruins of Glastonbury, which I visited in September 1999. All my pics are in a photo album. Wish there was some way to digitalize them. 🙂 Thanks for taking us on your walk!! 🙂

    1. Have you thought of scanning your photos into your computer, Cathy? That’s what I did with my Greek Islands ones. It takes time but they have quite a nice quality to them that you don’t get with newer cameras, and you can always edit them if you’re not happy.
      Lovely to have your company 🙂 🙂

      1. I would love to scan all my photos some day, Jo. I wish I had all the time in the world to do my hobbies of blogging, traveling, and photography, but as you know, I have other things I need to do right now. 😦 Ah, if only we had all the time and money in the world! Maybe one day I will get to this. 🙂

  3. What a lovely walk Jo! I feel like I’ve been on the ramble with you. 🙂 Those carved owls are stunners and the priory is still a beauty. Thanks for the great walk. ~Terri

    1. You’re welcome, Terri 🙂 I’m newly back in rainy England this morning and can’t find my laptop battery charger anywhere so I may be very silent for a while!

  4. Dear Jo,
    I feel as though I’ve just been out for a jaunt in the countryside! Gorgeous photos, I love the details, and I could almost smell the spring in the air. So glad you did stop and take that last shot of the blossoms!

    1. Hi Naomi 🙂 I’m between a wedding and a birthday celebration in Poland right now, and England seems far away. We have a couple of days in the mountains before we return and all will be back to ‘normal’. Take care!

  5. This my type of wander recce I would check out the location and return at either end of the day for that attempt at something different. Your blog will become a fabulous archive of your travels enjoy Poland.

  6. Wow, you have really …. got people joining you on your walk – fantastic. Maybe I should join in too. You’re such a fantastic “story” teller .. and photos!!!! So glad to see that you have the same blue sky as I have.

    1. Hi Vivi 🙂 Laundry all done and organised after your weekend of fun? Yes, join in why don’t you? I have one more walk this Monday then it’s Poland for 10 days so I won’t be posting 🙂 Hugs, honeybun.

      1. Wow. Poland …. wonderful for you!!! Are you going alone .. or is Mr going too ????
        It was a really relaxed Easter with fantastic weather. Yes, laundry done, but not organised at all – tomorrow, after my visit to the day clinic .. my monthly button rinse out.
        I will miss you – but I can understand that you will not be posting.
        Hugs …

      2. Mr. B, and Dad, of course, for a wedding. And then a romantic (I hope 🙂 ) couple of days in the mountains south of Krakow while Dad goes to see the rest of the family.

  7. Ah we all love the romantic ruins don’t we Jo 😉 Love the way you framed your pictures . Funny but when I read that sign … I thought it said shapewatch cycle trail Lol … … and NO … I’ve not had lots of Chocolate Eggs this Easter either 😉

    1. Can’t beat a romantic ruin, Poppy. 🙂 And just down the road Emily was roaming those moors looking for Heathcliff. Aaah!
      Hope you had a nice Easter, eggs or no. I didn’t get any at all 😦

  8. I think that every magnolia is a beauty 🙂 and this one in particular. Love the way you photographed it Jo, and the imposing ruins 🙂 I am slowly recovering (from everything). Will make my reappearance this Thursday. I just opened WP to see what you and Amy had been up to :). See you soon Jo. (when are you leaving for Poland, again?)

    1. Hi Paula 🙂 I’ve checked a couple of times to see if you were back so I’m delighted that you have popped your head over my fence this evening and that you are getting back to your normal self. I will look forward to Thursday’s Special.
      I have one more walk for next Monday and then I will be shutting up shop and flying to Poland on Tuesday. Take care till Thursday! Hugs!

      1. Poland???? oh baby – now I am excited – because you know that “we go” wherever “restless Jo” goes!!! ha! and so I look forward to any pics you share. Have a nice day of lacking and hope you stay warm and dry…

  9. Now that was such a lovely walk yet again Jo and such stunning shots! I just can’t get enough of your walks. Always so interesting and fun. I just love those old buildings and arches and that magnolia is so beautiful. Thanks for another virtual adventure hon. 😀 ♥ Big Hugs ♥

    1. It’s amazing how much variety I can have in my walks, Sonel. When I look back at my photo albums there are lots of places I’ve been, and that’s before the camera starts snapping! It’s become an addiction, but a rather nice one 🙂 Thank you for enjoying it with me.

    1. This Spring has been amazing for flowers, Ad. The cherry blossom is more magnificent than I’ve seen it for years and the magnolias are gorgeous. We have one rather sad specimen in our own garden, but it’s obviously not too fussed on us. 😦

  10. Loved this walk Jo. Back in the eighties I spent a week staying in Yorkshire. I loved it. We rented a cottage on a farm. The farmer [a widow] had two sons. OMG…they were hilarious.

  11. What a grand walk, Jo! This one was by far one of the virtual best since ruined abbeys seem to scream mystery. It must be quite something to come through the woods and see the entrance arch waiting for someone to enter through.

  12. Jo another lovely walk. Can you tell me if the animal sculptures are stone or wood? I am always looking for examples of wooden carvings ( recall the totem poles in Canada and carvings in Jamaica) I wondered particularly about the owls. Hope the rest of your Easter was lovely.

    1. Hi, Sue 🙂 Thanks! They are wooden for sure. I’ve seen them tree felling in the forest and there are always new sculptures appearing. I’ve blogged about it before but not sure when- an old 6WS post I think. If you Google it you’ll probably get some gen. Then you’ll have to come and see for yourself 🙂

      1. That’s great Jo. I have been joking with Bronwyn at Journeys of the Fabulist about doing a world tour in search of totem poles or bee hives for that matter. 🙂 looks like another stop will be in order. Keep your eyes open for beehives too. 🙂

    1. Ah, but no work today, Jill. Or was there? I forget we have our different habits when it comes to Easter… I had a great walk this morning and am collapsed again now. 🙂

  13. Another beautiful and pleasant Monday walk. The Gisborough Priory is majestic under the blue sky, great captures! Thank you, Jo. See you later.

  14. I love the charm of the English countryside …. so well manicured and traversed for so many centuries … thanks for a beautiful walk Jo, sharing men’s sculptures and buildings old and new 🙂

  15. Hi Jo! I was really looking forward to your Monday walk, catching up as I am after being away from blogland for a few days for the most part (paying the price now though!).
    What a delightful place Guisborough Forest & Priory looks, and a gorgeous walk. Love the wooden animal sculptures and that magnolia is exquisite. As always, thoroughly enjoyed this walk with you and your beautiful photos.
    I hope you and yours had a lovely Easter Jo. 🙂

    1. Hi again Sherri 🙂 Settled for the evening now, after a rather nice walk which might be the subject for next week. Easter was quiet for us, but nice enough. Cooking and the usual stuff (which is how I’ve managed to keep posting over the break) Was it just family stuff or did you go away, Sherri? Doesn’t matter so long as you enjoyed it.

      1. Sounds like you had a lovely day Jo and really glad you had a nice Easter weekend. Same for us, quiet but lovely to have my eldest son home and so got to hear all about his trip to California! Just so nice to spend time together…
        Look forward to coming along for your walk next Monday 🙂

  16. You sure picked a nice location and had good weather for your walk, Jo it looks lovely. English is peculiar, especially as far as places are concerned, in a way I love it, but I can never bet on how to pronounce it. When I take the NE coach from the airport to Norwich the driver always put a smile on my face when he says “next stop Windem!”, meaning Wymondham. 🙂 And the first time I went to the local village of Wiveton, I didn’t get that right either. Hope you had lovely holidays, Jo.

    1. I think English place names are purely for the amusement and entertainment of the English, Dina. They can smirk because people from abroad are guaranteed to get it wrong. It says something about English humour too, doesn’t it?
      Easter was fairly quiet for us. How about you? 🙂

    1. No better time for a walk than Easter Monday, Viv, to walk off all that chocolate 🙂 Actually nobody bought me an egg so I might have to treat myself tomorrow, if there are any left.

  17. Makes me yearn for old buildings, wooden foxes and owls, and green fields instead of bush and mushrooms! I’ve never really wanted to visit England, but you could well change my mind.

    How far is G(u)isborough from where you live?

      1. Lovely pictures Jo. It just so happens that I did have my phone with me (surprise surprise) when I took Roo for a walk this afternoon and I took a few shots for the sheer hell of it. I shall look through them (until now, I’d forgotten all about them) and post some with a link.
        Watch this space…

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