On the Estate are Bolton Hall, the Priory Church and the ruins of the Priory Abbey.
Bolton Hall is the Yorkshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire - their other family home is Chatsworth in Derbyshire - how gret is that is to have two such lovely properties! The "tower" you can see in this picture of Bolton Hall was the original arched entrance to the Priory.
During our visit it was August Bank Holiday Monday and a fun day was taking place in the grounds.
Inside Priory Chucrh
A couple of things to note inside the church:
The East Wall of Bolton Priory Church was built in 1877 to replace the old wall of 1539 following the dissolution of the Priory. It was decorated with a fine painting about 1890 by a local artist, Thomas Bottomley (first pic) There are 5 panels within the painting, each containing a slightly different image of a Madonna Lily. There refer to the Priory's dedication to St Mary, 'The Madonna'.
Note too the old stone altar (second pic) which was discovered during restoration work in the 1980's - it had formerly been used as a tombstone. Its unusual to see such stone altars as most were destroyed in the Reformation
Bolton Abbey Priory Church
The Parish Church, attached to the ruins of the Abbey, is still used by the the local community for worship - parking is not allowed here unless by church attendees on Sunday.On the outside there are some interesting stone figures but its also worth a pop inside to see some of its lovely features such as the stained glass windows - especially the ones of St Cuthbert to whom the church is dedicated. The web site link below gives so much detail on this if you want to know more about that.
The Cavendish Memorial Fountain was built in honour of Lord Frederick Cavendish 2nd son of the 7th Duke of Devonshire. The unfortunate son was assassinated in Phoenix Park, Dublin, 12 hours after his arrival as Chief Secretary to Ireland in 1882. The fountain has recently been restored and is was great to see it working. The Riverside can be reached by a path leading down from this fountain too.
Before you cross the stepping stones take some time to explore and enjoy the impressive ruins of the abbey - the Priory here was founded in 1154. I particulary liked this view of the archways open to the elements and the beautiful windows.
Money grows on Trees!
During our walk amongst the woods above the river bank we came across this huge tree trunk where it seemed to be a tradition for people to hammer in a copper coin or two into it - so money really was growing on this tree!. Virtually all the trunk was covered in coins - makes a change from coins in a fountain anyway!
Stride across the River Wharfe
These stepping stones were placed as a natural bridge here to cross the river - they are spaces fairly well apart too. Its a popular thing to do although there is an altenative proper wooden bridge that can be used. The Stepping Stones are an old right of way linking the hamlet of Storiths with the Priory.
Hole in the Wall
We parked in the top car park, headed past the pantry shop by the Bolton Abbey's village green and crossed the road to the "Hole in the Wall". This is the pedestrians entrance to the estate and it makes a perfect frame for the idyllic scene set before you...so pause for a while and take in the view before you head down the steps to the estate and river.
The estate of Bolton Abbey, and the ruins of its magnificient Augustinian priory, founded in 1154 is an iyllic spot for a day out. The Bolton estate stretches over 10km along the River Wharfe, and is the southermost section of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Its free to enter but there is a £4 car parking charge (all day at any of ther several car parks).
Parts of the river bank are fairly sandy - almost a beach here - annd families like to bathe in these areas or have picnics by the riverbank here.