I love seeing animals in their natural habitat, especially when it is well kept. There aren’t many places in England to see animals like this. So a deer park is the next best option. Though I am very fussy about which ones I will visit because I couldn’t let myself pay to visit somewhere which doesn’t great the animals nicely. Those of you who have been here since day one (nearly 5 years ago!) Will know I have visited Fountains Abbey before. Well I should probably call it Studley Royal. I didn’t go into the grounds of the Abbey because a certain photographer was being a bit stingey (refusing to pay).
This time we were visiting with a national trust pass, which meant I could go everywhere. I was happy to just follow a path and explore. But, once again my photographer had other ideas. Little did I know I was going to see three incredible art installations by Steve Messam.
Firstly, I decided to visit the ruins of Fountains Abbey. Walking through the land, I couldn’t see the ruins. It worried me that I was going the wrong way. But, I did find a great playground and a lookout tower decorated with stone deer. I continued walking down the hill and found a rather drunk sheep stumbling up the hill. I’m not going to do any drunk sheep jokes. Though I think he might have had one too many at the black sheep brewery, don’t ewe.
My photographer once again was striding out down the hill and my short legs were struggling to keep up. Luckily, downhill meant I could catch up quickly and scare some humans! Getting out all of my noise, I made it to the grounds of the Abbey.
Fountains Abbey is huge. Made up of three main buildings, one with an upstairs, one overlooking a river and one which used to be a hospital. I honestly wasn’t expecting to see much. My drive to Fountains Abbey passes Jervaulx Abbey which is all but flattened to the floor. I spent the best part of three hours wandering about exploring and didn’t manage to see everything.
The tower is one of the most modern (built in 1495) and imposing part of the ruins. It is also the busiest. I found I preferred this from afar, because I couldn’t see the top when I was near it. The nave and chapel of alters was also very busy. But as soon as I headed through a corridor to the cloisters, all the humans disappeared.
There were so many paths I simply couldn’t decide where to go first. For once I decided to follow my photographer into the cellarium. Thankfully it was nowhere near as scary as the one in Finchale. I will admit I was rather underwhelmed by it. So instead of looking around we chose to head to the hospitum or houses for strangers.
This was more my style of exploring. The ivy was covering the walls and there were lots of hidey places to scare the humans. I know the area is looked after by the National Trust but it felt untouched by humans and reclaimed by nature. The gooseberries were out in style and the beautiful blue skies reflected perfectly in the River Skell.
Heading back through the cloister I found the perfect spot to enjoy sitting for a moment to enjoy the view. For some reason my photographer found it funny.
After having a rest I headed up a set of stairs I found, it gave a beautiful view of the grounds. Sadly it was one way up and down. But a bit further around the corner, there was another staircase. Leading to a really well preserved room. I think it was the muniment room or possibly a dormitory. The room was by far my favourite part because it still has the wooden door, glass windows and innately carved stonework.
The midday sun was getting very warm and my photographer was getting tired so we chose to walk past the infirmary without really exploring it. This part of the Abbey isn’t as well preserved as the other side. But, I did love seeing all of the humans sitting by the trees drawing. As a dinosaur I love colouring in but it’s hard work given I have short arms.
My morning was jam packed with adventures, just like my afternoon. So I’ve decided to separate this post into two. Stay tuned to see some incredible artwork and also to hear about my really rubbish lunch.
Reflections: a project by my photographer. Inspired by the loss of a friend who could find the beauty in the simple things. I was feeling kind and have decided to let them share some of their work.
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