My walk this week, much nearer home, takes me along the banks of the River Wear, four miles from the city of Durham. I hear that a heatwave is forecast and you might be glad of a little shade. I was dodging showers on my walk, so the trees proved extremely useful.
The Grade 1 listed ruins of Finchale Priory began life in the 13th century as a Benedictine priory. Today they are managed by English Heritage. The only details I could glean from their page are that the Priory was founded on the site of a retired pirate’s hermitage (!) and was later used as a holiday retreat for monks from Durham Cathedral.
St. Godric of Finchale was an English hermit, merchant and medieval saint who was born in Norfolk. After many pilgrimages around the Mediterranean, he spent the last 60 years of his life as a hermit in these idyllic surrounds. To find that same peace and serenity you need to visit out of season, as today a caravan park adjoins the site.
As so often, I turn to Wikipedia for my knowledge. For instance, I had no clear idea what a piscina might be, though I was assured that there was a double one on the south wall. It’s a shallow basin, placed near the altar of a church, used for washing the communion vessels. Hunting through my photos, I discover that I have some evidence.
I cannot seem to find a reference that explains this ‘chimney’ with a conical point, and I can’t recollect seeing one before. If any of you can help me on this, I’d be grateful. Now, you remember that we are beside the river?
Click on a photo for a closer look
While the sky is blue I think we should cross over the bridge. Got your brolly, just in case?
Choices next, for a short, circular walk through Cocken Woods. You can climb the steps, rather steeply, or follow the river bank for a short distance and then climb, a little more gently, up through the woods. No contest, really! Just past bluebell season, there was the thickest carpet and a deafening aroma of wild garlic!
It had to happen! Just about then the skies opened and the rain battered the river. My back pressed close to a tree trunk, I watched the steady tattoo and inhaled deeply. When the rain eased a little, there was just time to cross the bridge and slip quickly inside the cafe.
You’re probably thinking that that’s enough for the day, but I never want to waste an opportunity. Beyond the picnic benches, a path follows the river, on the same shore as the Priory but in the opposite direction. There’s a little climb before it levels out so I won’t make you walk again. Stay here and I’ll just show you a couple of photos.
Just one last look at the Priory, before it’s time to go.
I hope you enjoyed my ‘traces of the past’. I’ve included the English Heritage link for directions and opening times, and the other links for history and background. There is a special link too. Many of you will have seen Paula’s traces of the past, in Slovakia. I hope I’m not too late with my offering of Finchale Priory.
One cup of coffee down, two to go?
For any of you not used to my ramblings, can I direct you to my Jo’s Monday walk page or the logo above? It will encourage you to join me. For all you other lovely people, can I just say a huge thanks, both for your support and your wonderful contributions. Please make time to visit the posts below. You won’t regret it!
Drake’s always a winner- in more ways than one! First with his contribution again last week :
Back on home turf with Anabel, in Scotland. Do you know this one?
Jude apologised for ‘another flowery walk’. Is she mad? Good old King George V!
Kerdhva Gov Jori V (didn’t know I could speak Cornish- did you?)
You can always rely on Paula to find true beauty, even when she’s sleepy. This is exquisite!
A guy with a wicked sense of humour, Cardinal’s style is unique :
I have a cousin in Toronto. Maybe I should pay him a surprise visit one day?
Will I EVER tire of the beauty of the Grand Canyon? I doubt it!
I get to sit alongside Paula while Lucile pedals this week! Don’t miss this!
You can always depend on Debbie for variety! I wonder where next?
Laia’s post simply shimmers with colour and beauty (and blue ice!) Another one not to miss!
And while we’re in that part of the world, here’s a fascinating walk in Tasmania, with Ruth :
Jaspa keeps on going back to Venice. Well, why wouldn’t you?
Lots of shares again this week. I expect you’ve seen a few of them around the blogs, but please make time for any you’ve missed. There are some fabulous contributions. And if you have any spare time, Monday Escapes are acquiring a steady stream of followers. If only I could find more time!
Have a happy week and watch out for that heatwave! See you next Monday?