Repairing De Grey's Walk at Fountains Abbey

Repair work taking place at De Grey's walk

Flooding is one of our greatest challenges to manage on the estate. Last winter the heavy rainfall caused significant damage to the area underneath De Grey’s Walk. The land slipped and large cracks appeared in the path.

Named after the owner of the estate at the time, De Grey’s Walk was constructed in 1847. The arrival of the railways in the 1840s led to a significant rise in visitor numbers to Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal. The creation of a new path helped manage the additional tourists and also allowed visitors to walk around the ruins from the Studley entrance and enter the ruins from the west, the ‘correct’ way to approach a Cistercian abbey.

What the work will involve

We repaired the cracks in the path in autumn last year but now need to carry out further work along this section of the walk.

Surveyors have assessed the damage to help us understand the hydrology and groundwater flow which caused the landslip in this area. 

The work will involve installing a series of new land drains in the grass bank above the river which will help transport the ground water from the bank down into the river, and a new extensive supporting wall which will be hidden behind the existing drystone wall near Robin Hood’s well further along the path.

Once the new foundations are complete, the path will be re-laid and finished with a new surface dressing similar to paths on the opposite side of the valley.

We’ll need to close the path for around 10 weeks to carry out the work. We’ll also use this time to look at the condition and construction of the river wall at the bottom of the slope.

The project represents an investment of £100,000 and is an important step in dealing with ever present issues of water management and flooding on this site.