World Heritage Site

A special place...

Surprise view overlooks the abbey and water garden 

Surprise view overlooks the abbey and water garden

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is a special place for many people for lots of different reasons. For some it’s a place of peace and tranquillity, somewhere spiritual and a world away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

A special place...

Living the Georgian high life in the water garden © Jonathan Pow

Living the Georgian high life in the water garden

To others it’s a fun place to come with the family and have adventures. It’s a place of work, a place to volunteer and for some a place of learning, whether that be dressing up as a monk or conducting painstaking research for a PHD thesis.

A special place...

Over 300 yew trees have been planted by our gardeners and volunteers © Jonathan Pow

Over 300 yew trees have been planted by our gardeners and volunteers

It’s also a business, attracting on average 350,000 visitors each year who all contribute towards raising the necessary funds for essential conservation work.

A special place...

Cascades and canals flow into mirror-like ponds in the water garden © Andrew Butler

Cascades and canals flow into mirror-like ponds in the water garden

A source of pride for the local community, and an icon in Yorkshire and further afield, this place we all commonly call ‘Fountains’ is a World Heritage Site, recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

A special place...

Studley Royal deer park is home to Red, Fallow and Sika deer © Richard Jemison

Studley Royal deer park is home to Red, Fallow and Sika deer

The eighteenth-century water garden, incorporating some of the largest Cistercian ruins in Europe, shares the landscape with a deer park, Jacobean mansion and a magnificent Victorian church designed by William Burges.

What is a WHS?

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World Heritage Sites are special places considered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to be of outstanding universal value.

World Heritage Site’s belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of where they are located. By identifying these special places of great cultural and/or natural value UNESCO aims to safeguard these places so that they can be passed to future generations.

Why are we a WHS?

To be designated a World Heritage Site (WHS), a place must not only demonstrate ‘outstanding universal value’, it must also meet at least one of ten criteria established by UNESCO.

The name of the estate on our World Heritage Site inscription is ‘Studley Royal Park, including the ruins of Fountains Abbey’, rather than the name we’re usually known by, ‘Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal’.

Looking after a WHS

Together with our partners, it’s our role to ensure this exceptional landscape is looked after, so that future generations can experience this inspirational place.

Every World Heritage Site must have a management plan for every six years. This is an important document, which needs to be approved by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee.

What's happening

World Heritage Site Draft Management Plan Summary 2015 - 2021

We've consulted with a range of stakeholders and written the draft of the 2015-2021 Management Plan, now we’d like to make sure everyone has the chance to comment.

The Draft Management Plan Summary explains how we've reviewed the previous plan, some of the actions in the new draft plan and lets you know how to have your say. It is by no means comprehensive, please download the full plan  and appendices to find out more.

Have your say

Discover a unique World Heritage Site

We hope that this information has given you an insight in to the new management plan and the wide range of topics it covers.

Please feel free to complete our online questionnaire and let us know what you think, email us or write to us at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Ripon, HG4 3DY.

The final date for comments is 31 January.

Other WHS Sites

There are currently 911 World Heritage Sites on the UNESCO list. In the north of England they include Saltaire, Durham and Hadrian's Wall.

The National Trust looks after over 25 places on the World Heritage List in the United Kingdom, including the Stonehenge landscape.

See the full World Heritage Site list or find out more about National Trust World Heritage Sites.

Discover another special place at Hadrian's Wall

Discover another special place at Hadrian's Wall

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