Explore Swanley Grange

A grandmother and granddaughter touching the herbs in the garden at Swanley Grange

Swanley Grange has had a medieval make-over. Stop by to discover more about Fountains Abbey’s agricultural past.

What is a grange?

Granges were like monastic farms that provided food for the monks and Swanley was one of three ‘home’ granges within walking distance of the abbey itself. The wool from the sheep that the monks kept generated an income for the abbey and enabled it to grow into one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in the country.

What can I do here?

Step inside to try your hand at traditional crafts such as weaving and knitting, meet the new woolly and feathered residents, and explore the vegetable garden.

Veggies galore!

The vegetable garden design is inspired by that of a monastic grange with turf seats, heritage varieties of herbs and beans, and plants which will be dug back into the ground to fertilise the soil.

Use touch and smell to explore the vegetable garden
A grandmother and granddaughter touching the herbs in the garden at Swanley Grange

Get hands on

Learn a little bit more about the abbey's link to the wool trade and have a go at a woolly craft!

Have a go at carding some wool
A girl having a go at carding wool

Meet the flock

The herdwick sheep and their lambs are enjoying their new home.

The sheep are settling into their new home
A sheep and her lamb

Our feathered friends

Swanley grange is home to six chickens. They are really friendly so come and say hello!

Make a new feathered friend or two!
A little boy guiding the chickens into their pen
The vegetable garden at Swanley Grange with Huby's Tower in the distance.

Get involved at the grange 

You can help us tell the story of the abbey's agricultural past by volunteering with us. There's all sorts to have a go at from welcoming visitors, to looking after the chickens, gardening and helping demonstrate heritage crafts.