Ripon and Fountains Abbey walk

Walking trail

This walk allows visitors to reach Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden via footpaths, roadways, bridleways and Studley Royal Deer Park.

Enjoy views of the Abbey, elegant Georgian water garden and Deer Park

Allow more time than recommended if you would like to enter the Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Estate with its 12th-century abbey, Georgian Water Garden, Cistercian mill, and Jacobean mansion (admission charges apply).

View of Ripon Cathedral from the Deer Park at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal


Map route for Ripon and Fountains Abbey walk


Ripon Market Place, grid ref: SE313713


Leave Ripon bus station/car park heading west towards Queen Street, bearing left to the Market Place. Cross the square diagonally to the south-west corner and bear left via pedestrian crossings, past the end of Westgate down the hill along High Skellgate. Continue down to the traffic light-controlled junction.


Go straight on at the junction, across the pedestrian crossing into Low Skellgate, taking care on the narrow footpath. Go past the service garage on the right, bear right and follow Borrage Lane. Look out for the blue plaque on White Cottage, commemorating the residence of poet Wilfred Owen during his stay for recuperation after injuries received in the First World War.


Towards the end of Borrage Lane, take the footpath bearing left, crossing the River Skell by the footbridge. Turn right and follow the footpath at the side of the river, passing the junction with the River Laver, to climb concrete steps. The concrete steps are a surviving relic of a First World War army camp which extended up the River Skell to the Deer Park boundary. Most of the remains of the camp are hidden under open parkland/playing fields - though outlines of buildings, roads and an internal light railway may be seen.


Follow the path through scrubland - mostly keeping the river in view on your right. Emerge onto a road at Hell Wath Cottage. There are many paths here - keep to the right as far as possible. Turn right at the junction and immediately cross over the stile adjacent to an information board. Cross over the River Skell via a footbridge. Follow this well-defined and hedged path, passing a large house on the left to a junction of a similar path at right angles to it.


At the junction of the paths, turn left and continue to Studley Roger village, crossing the main street to follow the footpath opposite for Studley Royal. Pass into the deer park and follow the grass path ahead to join the main vehicle drive in the park. On a clear day, you'll see St Mary's church ahead. Turning around, you'll see Ripon Cathedral in the distance.

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View of Ripon Cathedral from the Deer Park at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal


Follow the drive up towards a junction and turn left towards Studley Lake. Why not take time to visit the tea-room overlooking the lake? Or enter the grounds of the estate to see the magnificent Georgian Water Garden and 12th-century abbey ruins? If you decide not to visit the tea-room or estate - as the drive bends right, take the track on your left, crossing the footbridge with the lake on your right.


After crossing the footbridge, follow the well-defined footpath ahead, down the Valley of the Seven Bridges and the course of the River Skell. The river can disappear into swallow holes in the limestone rock during dry weather.

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After you've crossed five bridges (there were originally seven), exit National Trust property via a metal gate, following the track beside the river.


At the track junction, bear to the left and continue up the hill to open views over Ripon and past Plumpton Hall farm house, returning to Studley Roger Village, passing the entrance to the Estate on your left. In the village, turn right to retrace your earlier steps along the footpath to Ripon.

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At the cross-paths, continue straight ahead to reach the B6265. Take care crossing the road. Turn right towards Ripon, crossing the River Laver. At the mini roundabout continue straight ahead, passing cricket and rugby grounds on the right, to the junction with Clotherholme Road.


Continue past the Ripon Spa Hotel and Gardens on your right, crossing the end of Blossomgate via the pedestrian crossing. Take Westgate straight ahead to return to the Market Place and your starting point.


Ripon Market Place, grid ref: SE313713

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Ripon and Fountains Abbey walk


This walk takes you along bridleways, footpaths, roadways and tracks from Ripon. The terrain is fairly easy walking although there are a few moderate hills. Walking boots are recommended as the ground can be muddy in poor weather.

Although dogs are welcome, they must be kept on a lead at all times. A short lead is required when walking dogs in the deer park as there is livestock nearby.

Ripon and Fountains Abbey walk

Contact us

Ripon and Fountains Abbey walk

How to get here

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Ripon, HG4 3DY
By train

Harrogate 12 miles (19.3km).

By road

4 miles (6.4km) west of Ripon off B6265 to Pateley Bridge, signposted from A1, 12 miles (19.3km) north of Harrogate (A61).

By foot

4 miles (6.4km) from Ripon via public footpaths and bridleways.

By bus

Harrogate District Community Transport (Ripon Roweller 139) Ripon - Markington (connections with Harrogate and District 36 from Harrogate). Call Traveline for details 0871 200 22 33.

By bicycle

Signed on-road cycle loop.

Ripon and Fountains Abbey walk

Facilities and access

  • Responsible dog owners welcome, please keep dogs on a short lead
  • Restaurant, tea-room, shop, plant centre and parking at Fountains Abbey