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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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! 😀

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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! 🙂

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