Rievaulx Abbey Walk

Difficulty
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Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3-4h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
11.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
305 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Rievaulx Abbey Walk is a fantastic adventure in North York Moors National Park for anyone interested in beautiful views and stunning historical buildings. While out on the trail, you will traverse some undulating terrain made up of beautiful forests and fields before spending some time around the historically significant Rievaulx Abbey that dates back to the 12th Century. A little bit of effort will be required to complete this adventure, although it is more than manageable for beginner walkers.

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Route Description

Featuring the gorgeous ruins of the 12th Century Rievaulx Abbey that was - prior to being seized and disestablished by King Henry VIII in 1538 - one of the great abbeys of England, the Rievaulx Abbey Walk is an exceptional adventure that will also provide some lovely views of the surrounding countryside. While there is a car park at the abbey, it is reserved for visitors to the ruins themselves, meaning that you will need to either book a tour or find parking in the village nearby.

Setting out from the car park, you will head to the southwest along the winding banks of the River Rye, before heading west on Bridge Road. From here, you will pass by several ponds and climb uphill through the forest to the north, making your way across some picturesque fields to eventually descend the hillside.

After making your way through the Low Giull and High Gill forests, you will pass by the village of Old Byland and continue on to the northeast to further descend the hillside. Once you have met up with the River Rye, follow it to the southeast and take in the natural beauty of the riverside setting, as you work your way back towards the beginning of the walk at the historic Rievaulx Abbey.

Getting There

To get to the trailhead for the Rievaulx Abbey Walk from Helmsley, head northwest on CHurch Street/B1257 for 2.1 mi and turn left onto Rievaulx Bank. Follow this for 0.7 mi and turn left to enter the car park. Take note that you might not be permitted to use the car park unless you book a visit to the abbey.

Route Details

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-Round

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

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