Ampleforth Abbey Round


“The monks of the Abbey of St Laurence live a life inspired by the Rule of St Benedict based in a beautiful valley in North Yorkshire. St Benedict emphasised the importance of community living as a context for the growth of the individual.” [website]

ST benedict

St Benedict Sculpture by Judy Brown

Ampleforth Abbey has been home to a community of Benedictine monks since 1802. It provides: a co-educational day and boarding school for ages 13 to 18; hosts retreats, pilgrimages and time for reflection; is home to St Martin’s a co-educational day and boarding school for ages 3 to 13; welcomes visitors wishing to spend the day there and provides refreshments in its Tea Room. St Alban’s Sports Centre provides excellent sport and recreation facilities and is open to the public and the Abbey produces and sells its own cider, beer, and other monastic produce and provides unique holiday lettings.

“The walk is approx 7 miles in N Yorks Moors Western Area with afternoon tea option at Ampleforth Abbey.”

That was the brief message about the Weekday Wanderers‘ Walk today.

Good Samaritans

The Good Samaritan by John Bunting

It’s nearly a year since I had my day out with friends visiting The Plot and I was reminded of this as we walked down from the car park through the Abbey grounds to begin our walk.

Mill Lane Sign

Walk this way


Abbey from field

 The Abbey from the Field Track

From here we headed along the lane and into Ampleforth village itself before heading south on field tracks to the wooded area surrounding the Lower Fish Pond.

Lower Fishpond

 The Lower Fish Pond

From here, through the woodland, we had a steepish climb up, up, up to a track along the ridge which eventually opened out into ‘The Avenue’ a broad avenue with woods on either side which was the approach at one time to Gilling Castle.  Lunchtime!

The Avenue

The Avenue

Ampleforth College Golf Club occupies the grounds of the Castle and our route took us around these immaculately kept greens eventually dropping down into the village of Gilling East.

Gilling Church

 Holy Cross Church, Gilling East

We had the opportunity to look round the Holy Cross Church before moving through the village and past the HQ of the Ryedale Society of Model Engineers where members were hard at work.

Boys Toys

Boys and their Toys

Passing over rough meadow land we arrived at a wheat field which we waded through following a very narrow public footpath. A sculpture of a man by Anthony Gormley (old boy of Ampleforth College) overlooks the local countryside here.


Gormley Man

We were soon back in the College grounds and a tarmac track lead back up to the main buildings and the very welcome Tea Room.

Tea Room

Tea Room with local Mouseman furniture


Pear and Almond Cake nearly finished after a lovely day’s walk and visit


8 comments on “Ampleforth Abbey Round

  1. nilly says:

    Quite a lot of sculptural interest on this walk – it’s very interesting to see the John Bunting sculpture and the Gormley Man! I didn’t know about the walk or the tea room, but I have seen the beautiful Fairfax monuments in Gilling East church.

    • I think there are many walks in the area, nilly. Our leader adapted the one above to suit our group. It was very varied as you can see with lots of interest along the way. I knew nothing about the tea room nor that so much went on at Ampleforth aside from the public school. It’s well worth a visit. Yes, and besides the Fairfax monuments there is also a popular-looking pub of the same name in the village. I also noticed a memorial in the church to members of the Cholmeley Family – the name I recognised from Easton Walled Gardens.

  2. Lovely walk – but did you walk another whole seven miles back?

  3. ms6282 says:

    I’ve not heard of this area before. Looks interesting. Nice countryside and some artistic and historical interest too.

  4. Well, even better. There are plenty of walking ideas. Try walks at Mount Grace Priory/Osmotherly … and beat me to it!

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