Walk on the wild side
Stroll through the deer park and enjoy the scenic Seven Bridges Valley before venturing out into the local countryside.
Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre, grid ref: SE272687
Leave the visitor centre and follow the signs for St Mary’s Church, along the bridleway. While it has a dark gothic exterior, inside it’s bursting with colour! It has animals, insects and birds in the carvings and designs. Can you spot the exotic parrots? (Church open March — October 12 – 4pm)
When you reach the church, follow the mown path on the right across the deer park towards the lake.
There are three types of deer that make their home here. Red deer are the biggest, fallow deer have the lovely spotted coat and sika deer are chestnut coloured with a darker line on their back.
Walk around the lake away from the tearoom and towards the footbridge.
Mute swans, geese, mallard and coots can be spotted enjoying the water here whatever the season.
Can you muster the courage to walk pass the sphinx? Cross the footbridge if you dare to enter the Seven Bridges Valley. Follow the path, heading for the small stone bridges, but beware of the trolls hiding below...
Pass through a metal gate and follow the path until you reach a narrow footbridge on the right. Cross the bridge and follow the path uphill. At the top of the hill, take the left hand path and continue until you pass through a wooden gate.
Amble across the open ﬁelds following the grassy path. The cows or sheep that often graze here seem very content with the glorious views! Exit the field through the wooden gate and turn left, following the lane, passing Whitcliﬀe Hall, until you reach a small area of woodland. Take this woodland path with the fence on the left (which is a permissible route). Continue along the path until you emerge at an open ﬁeld looking out across the city of Ripon. Follow the ﬁeld edge on the left until you reach Hell Wath Cottage.
Tap, tap, tap – if you’re lucky you might hear a great spotted woodpecker.
Go down the steps, turn left and continue straight on to cross a footbridge. Follow the bridleway until you reach a junction of footpaths. Take the left path which will bring you into Studley Roger village.
Robins can be spotted ﬂitting in and out of the hedges.
On reaching the road, go straight across following the public footpath taking you into the deer park. Follow the path heading towards St Mary’s Church. When you reach the church, pass through the gate and turn left along the bridleway returning to the visitor centre.
You made it
Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.