Studley – A royal park and some deer
I visited this WHS in June 2016. Getting there by car from Saltaire, I drove through some narrow rural roads and I could already appreciate the green surrounding landscape. Once you get close to the car parks, the first thing you see is a huge green board stating that this site is a WHS and apparently it is the only ‘official’ board which states so. There’s no plaque even though this site was inscribed in 1986 together with another 6 WHS in the UK. The car park is free but entrance to the Studley Royal Park costs 13 pounds! The map given when you buy the entrance ticket is very good and clearly indicates the loop to follow. A few steps after leaving the visitor centre and just after Swanley Grange, there is the first important crossroad. Although you might be tempted to go straight to the Fountains Abbey ruins which are visible from this crossroad, if you want to visit everything head towards the opposite direction towards Fountains Hall and Fountains Mill as the trail will then follow the same trail to the Abbey. As part of Studley Royal Park’s 30th anniversary as a WHS, in June 2016 there was a small exhibition in Fountains Hall (picture) on this WHS and on world heritage in general. The highlights of this WHS are the Cistercian ruins, St Mary’s Church interior and the surprise view. To be honest, I failed to see any OUV in this WHS and it’s more of a national heritage. In the UK alone, there are several parks, gardens and Cistercian ruins that are on par. The park is mainly visited by elderly people who go there for a stroll in a well kept park. Ultimately that is the gist of this WHS’s experience. I’m glad I stopped at the different tea rooms for some scones as they helped me enjoy this WHS as much as possible.
World Heritage Site