Jo’s Monday walk : Flamboyant Autumn at Easby Abbey


Today’s walk is the reverse of one I took you on a couple of years ago.  Remember the story of the little Drummer Boy?  It really hadn’t been my intention to walk to Easby Abbey, but as the sun burst forth over the Autumn foliage I couldn’t imagine a finer place to be.  Such a contrast with the creeping mist that enshrouded me last time.

This walk starts from The Station at Richmond, now a fine exhibition space with a rather nice eatery, ‘Seasons’.  Have I been neglecting your stomachs lately?  I know there has been a dearth of cream scones on here, but maybe you can make up for it later.  Incentive to get you walking! From the rear of The Station a trail signed for Easby Abbey leads off into the woods.

The gurgle of water accompanies your footsteps, as you are walking above the fast flowing River Swale.  Glimpses of it flaunt themselves through gaps in the trees, along with the wider view to the countryside beyond.  Soon you come to a bridge.  This morning it is rhymed with frost so tread a little carefully.  Recent rain has ensured the boisterous nature of the water.

Once over the bridge the trail bends to the left and you are following the river more closely.  My heart always goes pitter pat at the sight and sound of rushing water.  Autumn finery weaves it’s own spell.



Bathed in sunlight, you can make out a grand looking residence through the trees, and soon you are in sight of the Abbey.  The gatehouse stands silently, beyond a field where grazing horses sport their winter garb.  The woolly sheep don’t seem to feel the same need.


Pastoral England at it’s finest, isn’t it?  Let’s slip through the metal gate into the churchyard.  The hamlet of Easby dates back to the Domesday survey of 1086, and the parish church of St. Agatha predates the Abbey.  It also provides a wonderful vantage point over the Abbey ruins.



Easby Abbey was founded in about 1152, by Roald, a constable of Richmond in North Yorkshire.  It was established as a Premonstratension monastery, whose origin came from Premontre in France.  Most monks follow the 6th century Rule of St. Benedict, renouncing the world for a life of contemplation.  The Easby monks followed the older rule of St. Augustine, meaning they served the community by preaching, teaching and charitable work, and could become parish priests.  They lived communally but did not take monastic vows.  They were ordained as canons (or priests), with the authority to celebrate mass and administer sacraments.

From the earliest times, sheep farming seems to have been a mainstay of Abbey life.  Roald’s descendants continued to hold the constableship of Richmond and its lands throughout the 12th and 13th centuries.  They were variously known as de Burton or de Richmond.  By the 14th century the estates had been sold to the Scrope family, knights based at Bolton in neighbouring Wensleydale.  The Scropes made Easby their burial place and the chancel of the Abbey church was lengthened.  Prosperity seems to have continued until the suppression of the monasteries in 1536. Richmond defended its monks, but in retribution Henry VIII wrote that “St. Agatha and such other places as have made resistance… shall without pity or circumstance… be tied up (hanged) without further delay”.  Destruction followed, but the remaining ruins are hauntingly beautiful.


Turning up the lane, another grandiloquent property looks down on you.  I imagine much doffing of caps went on at St. Agatha’s House.


The field drops down towards the river again, and this time I find I can get really close.  Leaf strewn steps lead down almost to the water’s edge and I am awash in Autumn’s tumultuous hues.  Knotty tree roots protrude and I have to mind my step, but it’s like being in an enchanted forest.


Always before I have taken the higher route.  My reward, a glimpse of a modern day Hansel and Gretel cottage, nestled in the woods.


The path meets the higher route at the Drummer Boy stone, and soon you can see distant Richmond Castle through the trees.  Water trickles and drips down the mossy stone.  It feels almost primeval.


Back at The Station, pause for refreshments, or carry on, as I do.  I can never resist the lure of the falls, and there’s a bonus.  Look who I found!


The tumult of the falls is breathtaking.  As I walk back towards The Station, another little guy is watching me from the safety of a branch.

I hope you enjoyed sharing these last moments of Autumn.  English Heritage provide a comprehensive history of the Abbey on their website, plus details of how to get there.  I’d rather like to share this walk with Jude too. Her November theme for the Garden Challenge is Trees, and I think I’ve managed to find one or two.  Let’s put the kettle on and settle in for a read now, shall we?

walking logo

Huge thanks to all of you for the support I receive on here.  Yet again I have a wonderful selection of walks to share. Please visit as many as you can. And if you happen to have a walk you’d like to share, well, what are you waiting for? Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or you can click on the logo above.


I have so many Gaudi favourites!  How about you?  Lady Lee showcases this one beautifully :

Casa Batllo 

Woolly’s strolling from the shopping centre this week :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk- Barwon Heads

Jude tries her hand at landscapes in Constable country, and makes a lovely job of it :

Walking in an artist’s footsteps

Kingston, Jamaica it’s not, but Stephanie makes her current home look very appealing :

A Walk through Downtown Kingston, WA

Jackie, meanwhile, is on the trail of more history in Virginia :

October 2016- Williamsburg, VA

While Liesbet explores California, with a very cute canine friend :

Sunny Sacramento

Yvette is never shy about sharing her views, but she shares a lot of love too :

Our Lady of Victory Basilica Lackawanna, NY

Another of those dreams I haven’t yet made come true.  Thanks, BiTi!

Big Sur

Much more intimate, but no less delightful, Drake’s childhood home :

Big, big small world

Stamina or coffee!  Which do I need to walk in Badfish’s footsteps?  Don’t miss it!

One long road to Bratislava : Part II

I’m considering myself invited to the south coast so I can do this walk with Gilly.  Any offers?

A South West Coast Path Walk

And finally, anyone up for a little skateboarding?  Or you can just stroll, with Kathrin :

Skateboarding in Huntingdon Beach

Fantastic, aren’t they?  That’s it for Autumn posts from me.  Not sure where I’ll take you next week, but I hope you can come along.  In the meantime, have a great week, and to all my US friends, Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Hi restless jo! Enjoyed this walk – and as some other commenters shared – the timing is nice as we have rain here too (a different Richmond – likely named after yours)
    Anyhow – found myself pondering over the roots, some upviews, and little snippets you give us with your words.
    I know so many folks Become obsessed with books – but I hunk it is high time you got going on a book Jo! Maybe you have books already – but if not – it really is time!
    Thanks for the walk and have a nice day!

    1. I do need a good shove, Yvette. 🙂 Everybody is writing books. I don’t have anything different. I’m investigating options with voluntary work and I’ve had a lot of back/knee issues so zumba might have to go. Pilates maybe? More time in the Algarve. A trip to Florence in late February (YES- lifelong ambition 🙂 ) Lots of ways to look at a life. Thanks for caring and being a good companion.

  2. What a glorious day for a walk, Jo! I love everything about this walk: the river, the ruins, the colors of the leaves, especially the yellow. And I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous. I miss these wonderful autumn days in Europe. Even though this is my favorite season in California as well, I really miss these golden days when the air is very crisp, but the sunbeams warm your face. Thanks, Jo! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Southern California, great family time in Solana Beach.

    1. All of that is great to hear, Kathrin. Along with the colder winter weather that’s arrived this week has come sciatica and arthritis! Not quite so joyful, but still smiling, and posting walks. Take care, and thanks! 🙂

  3. What a beautiful quintessential autumn scene Jo – wonderful photos! Have loved the historical background too somewhere I’ve heard of but never visited. Sad to think of those beautiful abbeys destroyed by Henry VIII’s whims but they still look hauntingly beautiful centuries later. Hope your week has gone well and wishing you a lovely weekend xx

    1. Hello, darlin! 🙂 It’s another bright and lovely Friday here but I’m not as energetic as I was last week. Struggling with a few back problems but it seems to be getting easier. Still keeping the spirits high. You’ll be looking forward to getting your daughter back 🙂

      1. Sorry to hear that Jo – backache is horrible I’ve had my fair share. Hope it comes good for you soon – lots of heat packs! Yes excited for Mlle’s visit – she arrives 2 weeks tomorrow! Lots to do to get ready before then as don’t want to be doing lots of Christmas preparations when she’s here. Take care and hope you feel much better soon xx 😀

  4. This is, by far, one of my favorite of your walks yet. Each vision of the landscape is more breathtaking than the last! Thank you for sharing your world with someone who can’t afford to travel it any other way!

    1. Thank you so much for that. I know how lucky I am to have this not too far from my doorstep, yet it’s easy to take for granted what’s there. It’s cold and turning to Winter, but there are some great memories to look back on. I’m really glad you can share them with me. 🙂

  5. Such a beautiful, enjoyable scenery via you lens. I can only imagine being there walking through the Abbey, watching the sheep and river runs through… Great photos!

    1. It was rather a special one, Otto, because it started full of cloud and I wasn’t at all hopeful till we got there. The colours are almost gone so one last breath of beauty was much appreciated. 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  6. Rushing water is right…that’s some kind of moving water isn’t it? I like river/streams that move like that. I also like them just gurgling along. You’ve got some great shots in this post, love the one of the empty church beside the fence, it looks so…alone. Makes you wonder what this land was like when things were alive here. You are so lucky to have this kind of land around. I walk outside and it’s…sand, then more sand. Then more sand. And nobody’s taking no walks in that stuff.

    1. Thank you for the smiles 🙂 🙂 I could use them this week. It’s been all grey skies till now and I’m suffering with sciatica. Onwards and upwards! Ooh, a giant sandpit- what fun! Now where did I put my sunhat?

      1. glad to put a smile in your day…but nothing I can do about grey skies. Or dang sciatica (is it a pinched nerve?) or muscle pain?
        Save the sunhat…you don’t even want to step outside in this heat.

  7. Another superb walk. I love the water shots, particularly the one half-framed by resplendent leaves. Hugs as I head off to collect kids and initiate them into painting by blowing through a straw. I’m a failure because we haven’t had a new book for two days. Hurry back, J, with a library.

    1. It was superb water, Meg! Struggling a bit with sciatica but I’m sure I could manage to blow through a straw. Haven’t done that for years, other than rude bubbles in my cocktails 🙂 🙂 I shall need an address if you need a book parcel, and a list of those you’ve read! Let me know what happens with J tomorrow?

  8. This was a lovely walk, Jo. My heart goes pitter patter at the sound of running water as well. Glorious scenery and I saw on one of the comments that you stopped and had a vegie crepe – oh yum! 😀

  9. I am glad you have beautiful blue skies and it is all looking so peaceful and calm. Here in the South we have storm Angus battering our seaside towns. It has rained so much that this morning my car was nearly stuck in a flooded area. Your photos are lovely, thank you for this beautiful walk Jo.

    1. This was on Friday, Gilda. It’s been all downhill since then 😦 Angus is rattling the windows and it’s rained all afternoon but we’re lucky to be at the top of a hill and flooding is seldom an issue. Good job I have these sun soaked photos to indulge in 🙂 Glad you liked them.

  10. What a super day sweetheart. This post really shows off autumn in the north of England, beautiful scenery, rich colours and November sunshine, what could be better? Your walk doesn’t even look hilly, so that’s good with me, how many miles? And no M this time? I bet he would have found a cafe or pub for a little snackette. Hope you r week got off toa good start, back to work was okay, I’ve been missed x:-)x

    1. Nice to have been missed and I hope they spoiled you a bit, Gilly 🙂 Mick was there too (he’s my transport, remember 🙂 🙂 ) Just over 3 miles in total. Guilty secret- we went into a French bistro place and I had a veggie crepe. I think you’d have coped very well 🙂 Hugs, darlin!

  11. What a wonderful walk, Jo. And it brings back such fond memories when my husband and I spent the day touring Easby Abby and Richmond Castle ourselves. Funnily enough, when we were at Easby, we ran into the son of “James Herriot” who lived in the same village as David’s brother (Thirsk) and recognized him through the family resemblance (both father and son were Derek’s veterinarian at one time). Have a wonderful week!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

  12. What a lovely walk, Jo. And the series of photographs are just amazing. I feel as though I was there with you. I love that word ‘grandiloquent’ – it speaks volumes.

  13. That is such a wonderful walk, Jo. It has all the elements I like, especially ruins and gushing water. And, the fall colors, of course. I love the sound of water, on walks and at night when sleeping. Abbeys are almost as intriguing as castles… 🙂

    1. And we have no shortage of either, Liesbet 🙂 🙂 The way the rain is gushing down right now is surely good for the waterfalls! Possibly floods forecast down south though. Always trouble for someone 😦

      1. Yep, that is too bad…. I see it as nature getting back to us for mistreating her as a whole. Unfortunately, she does not know who is actually trying to save her and who does respect her. As with everything in the world, generalizations take place, even by Mother Nature. 🙂 Perfect does not exist. Where can one live in peace and beauty?? It is all keeping us on our toes, the weather, politics, relationships, health issues, … so we don’t take anything for granted.

  14. I think this is one of my favourite walks I have read of yours to date Jo. Perhaps because I so love Autumn! We woke to snow here this morning in southern Ontario!

    1. Oh, don’t, Lynn! 🙂 You’ll be surprised to know that there was snow in the hedges and the high ground when we were driving back from the Dales on Friday. Fine at a distance 🙂 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this.

  15. This walk with you Jo is as if strolling right into postcard alley. I’ve said it so many times that we just don’t have that kind of history. The buildings set off against all that dramatic colour are amazing. then add some sheep and I’m done for. Really enjoyed this stroll with you very much. Xo

      1. Jo you are right. We can find beauty wherever we live. I agree such a wonderful thing to be able to share it. This of course causes a serious ongoing case of wanderlust and travel dreaming for me. Thanks for the hugs and big ones back to you.

  16. What a wonderful walk I took with you this morning, Jo. It was inspiring, invigorating and brought to mind how destructive Henry VIII was, along with some of his other less-than-kingly traits. So many abbeys and monasteries destroyed and now only living in the imagination. What remains is still awe-inspiring. I might just have to take this walk again!

  17. What a wonderful autumn walk! Rural England at its best! I love those ruins of the old abbeys, but I keep wondering how magnificent that architecture woiuld nowadays be had we not had the dissolution of monastaries.
    Have a great week,

    1. It’s astounding they’ve survived as well as some of them have, Pit. I bet they’d be a bit draughty though, and think of the heating bills! 🙂 🙂 You have a good week too!

  18. How lovely to traipse along with you Jo after my Montag chores … a day when it hardly looks like the sun has risen unbelievably grey but we’ve had some great days recently so mustn’t grumble ! Another place that warrants a visit sometime … and a chance to brush up on some history if I could be dragged away from the falls *sigh … lovely post of Autumnal splendour and ruins Jo .

    1. Thanks, Poppy 🙂 Yes, a drab one here too, but all that rain is topping up the waterfalls. All I need to do to find sunshine is switch on the laptop 🙂 🙂 Wishing you a happy week.

  19. such a beautiful walk! thank you for taking me along, Jo. I thoroughly enjoyed every step; the scenery, the river, the sheep and the black and red- garbed horse, the abbey and its history, the splendor of autumn bathed in the sun! wow! 🙂

  20. Beautiful time of year…when the sun’s shining and you share such gorgeous photos. We’ve had a storm since yesterday, absolulely chucked it down, I think of the Somerset Levels… Thank you for taking me on such a beautiful walk today dear Jo, it was just what I needed. Big hugs 🙂 xxx

    1. It’s currently pouring here too, Sherri. We made a rapid end to our walk this morning 🙂 🙂 Got to get out and grab it while you can. How goes the book? Returning the affectionate hugs. 🙂

      1. I bet…not nice out there today. It’s going Jo, thanks for asking. Taking a short blogging break – to blog, not away from for a change, ha! – after reworking three chapters into one, totally rewriting, my head’s spinning a bit. Back to the writing shortly… Hope you’re okay. Hugs help a lot don’t they? 🙂 xx

  21. What a walk, Jo! I’m worn out but also invigorated by this gorgeous stroll. My heart also goes pitter patter at the sound of rushing water. And those waterfalls are wonderful. The whole scene is so pastoral and, as you say, primeval. I don’t think I could ever get enough of England’s ruins. I also love the sheep and the horses with their warm blankets wrapped around them. What a perfect time of year too, with the warm fall colors. 🙂

    1. It was a huge treat, Cathy, because the day started grey. I had wanted to go further up into the Dales but there was snow about which can make for tricky driving on these roads. I was so glad that we went to Richmond in the end. 🙂

    1. The trees beside the river were full of squirrels, Lisa. I was astounded because they don’t usually sit for long enough for me to get a shot, but they were busy eating 🙂 🙂 Thanks for your company, hon.

  22. Looks like a very typical piece of England. I can almost smell the damp leaves and hear the rushing waters. As always, your photographs bring the words to life. I do wish I had your energy to get out and about more often. I mean to, I even plan to, but I’m so easily persuaded the indoors is better when the weather turns a bit wet and it is certainly that at the moment.

    1. I’ve just come back from an increasingly damp walk this morning, Maris, and no, not a lot of fun but the company is good. 🙂 Friday turned into the most glorious day when it was pure joy to be alive. You have to grab them when you can 🙂

  23. Now that was a grand walk. A fast-flowing river, golden leaves, pastoral views and then we end up in a ruined abbey with a churchyard! You have excelled yourself this morning Jo – so many delights to see. You certainly live in a very interesting region. (And btw an extra U seems to have in the title).

    1. My much respected other half tells me this spelling is correct so I changed it, Jude. He’s such a know it all, but I think he’s right in this instance. I don’t much like the way it looks though. My excuse this morning was that I was going with the American spelling, but I try to avoid that so I was on very dodgy ground. 🙂 🙂 Fabulous walk, isn’t it? Knew you’d approve.

      1. Mmm.. much as I don’t want to fall out with the OH every dictionary I consult spells it without the u. Buoyancy and buoyant are correct, but flamboyant loses the u. Of course the English Oxford dictionary and Collins could be wrong…

      2. Derived from the French “flamboyer” – perhaps you could have just used flaming or blazing? Anyway I hope the invalid is feeling better.

  24. Old Henry has a lot to answer for. I remember going to Glastonbury Abbey a few years ago and being intrigued that people in past centuries would have felt comfortable carrying away the stones of the Church buildings to reuse. But the guide said because the stone was already cut and dressed they would have had no qualms about helping themselves. Ruins are quite beautiful and I always find myself imagining the people who lived in these places.

  25. Pastoral England on a glorious late autumn day, Jo! What a wonderful uplifting post, and thank you very much for my virtual walk, I could almost feel the crisp air

    1. It started full of cloud but ended up the most glorious Friday, Sue. Couldn’t help but share it. Now I must go back and edit because Mick tells me I’ve misspelt flamboyant 😦

  26. The one thing I can not understand with these Abbey or any other ruin, is how they became a ruin. We understand they took years to build so how and why were they ever neglected. I know Henry V111 was guilty for some. Another lovely and thought provoking walk…

    1. This one is definitely the fault of Henry VIII, Gerry. It was part of his power game with the church. Nobody was going to defy Henry and get away with it! It amazes me that it’s still standing and so beautiful after so many years. The church is beautiful inside but I didn’t go in this time. Thanks for your company, hon. 🙂

  27. On such lovely days you can understand the setting of the abbey, stunning location and great for the sheep farming. This reminds me of both Bolton Abbey and also Fountains Abbey, though not on that scale. Every time I visit them I mourn the destruction of the buildings but at least the ruins survive and tell their story. Interesting about the split between the two forms of monasteries, a valuable history lesson this Monday morning. As for Richmond and its food although we’ve tried twice to savour its fares so far without luck – a story or two there!

    1. The church has beautiful frescoes inside, Annika. You might remember them from the Drummer Boy post. It was too lovely to be indoors on Friday. All downhill since then 🙂 🙂 Will we hear the food stories, then?

      1. Probably not…I don’t want to sound mean online although we did like Richmond itself.

        Wow, just read your Drummer Boy post – what a sad story…I’m sure there is a book waiting to be written. Also the frescos are amazing, so fresh and alive even though they date from 1250s!

      2. I don’t write bad reviews either. Save that for Trip Advisor 🙂 We ate at Rustique, just off the main square, and enjoyed it. Thanks for coming back to read Drummer Boy.

  28. Uplifting post, especially after a weekend of greyness and rain and wind over here (that prevented me from walking. Ugh!). That shot of the ruins as a whole is amazing. It is so large. Really makes you wonder what it was like in its prime – virtually a bustling little town, I guess.

    1. It’s amazing how long it has stood in ruins, Denzil. The history is fascinating and the church has some stunning frescoes inside (included in my Drummer Boy post). Friday was a magical day but yesterday was wet and this morning we’re still stuck with grey. 🙂 Have a good week!

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