York to Fountains Abbey walking holiday, England

“A tailor made, self guided four day walking holiday between York and Fountains Abbey, near Ripon. Staying in guesthouses and inns along the way. Easy walking, with bags transported for you. ”


Walking on Prior Richard Way | York | St Mary's Abbey | Poppleton | Old Roman roads | Whixley | Arkendale | Minskip | Boroughbridge | River Ure | Ripon canal | River Skell | Ripon Cathedral | Studley Royal Park | Fountains Abbey | Car free holiday

Description of York to Fountains Abbey walking holiday, England

This Yorkshire self guided walking holiday, following the Prior Richard Way, is a four day easy walking holiday along almost 60km of stunningly beautiful North Yorkshire countryside. Starting in the medieval walled city of York at the 12th century Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary's, other great heritage highlights along the way include Ripon Cathedral and, as a finale, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey.

The Prior Richard Way takes you on a route that follows in the footsteps of 12th century monks, one of whom this route is named after. Having fallen from favour at St Mary’s in York, the monks travelled in pilgrimage to the site where Fountains Abbey is now situated and subsequently joined the Cistercian Order. Fountains Abbey remains one of the best preserved Cistercian sites in the country. It is also part of Studley Royal Park.

With your bags transported for you, and staying at various inns and small guesthouses along the way, you will follow ancient routes such as the famous Roman road known as Dere Street and drovers’ paths which were used long ago for transporting livestock to market. Walk through ancient villages such as Whixley and Poppleton, and enjoy some riverside rambling along the Ouse. There are plenty of stops along the way to enjoy refreshments, many of which are community run with local specialities. We will also provide plenty of historical information about the monastic lifestyle and the heritage of the great buildings along the way. Such as the magnificent Ripon Cathedral which dates back to the 7th century, and boasts one of the oldest Saxon crypt's in the country.

The founder of our company is a trained Mountain Leader and an experienced local guide, who not only compiles detailed notes and routes for you personally, but is also on hand as support if you need it throughout your holiday.

The price of this holiday includes: Accommodation in guesthouses and hotels along the way, all breakfasts, detailed itinerary, OS maps and notes, luggage transfers, transfer back to York.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We run our office from our family home. We rarely print anything, but when we do we print on recycled paper and we also use the reverse side of printed paper as note paper. We use our household recycling bins for any paper, cardboard and plastic packaging and glass waste that we generate, and are very lucky that we also have a council run recycling site very close to our home where we take batteries, ink cartridges and any redundant electrical items.
We also encourage guests to use re-usable water carriers rather than disposable water bottles.

This walking holiday starts at York, England which can be accessed very easily by public transport. We then walk each day starting from our accommodation doorstep until we reach our destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Fountains Abbey ( a National Trust property ), Studley Royal Deer Park and Water Garden, near Ripon.

Our walking routes only use legitimate footpaths. The Prior Richard Way route is constructed using a network of established footpaths, waymarked routes, bridleways, small country lanes, green lanes and disused railway lines. Some examples of existing routes that we hop on and off are the Jorvik Way, the Knaresborough Round, and the Ripon Rowel Walk.

We advise and encourage our walkers to keep to the legitimate paths in order to avoid disturbing nearby wildlife, especially ground nesting birds and farm animals. Where footpaths cross cropped fields we adopt a single file formation in order to preserve the fields and reduce any possible damage to crops.

As well as informing about wildlife preservation, our guide also informs on history of the ancient footpath route that we are walking, of those who walked them in times of old, and of related local history of the area that we walk through.

We inform all guests on how to actively sustain the environment that they are walking through by promoting and adopting a ' leave no trace ' policy when we arrive in, use and leave the countryside. We always do a quick check of an area where we have rested and taken replenishment in order to implement this policy.

The Impacts of this Trip

Our walk guide and author of the holidays is Yorkshire born and bred, and is therefore proud to frequent and promote local businesses along the walk routes.
Whilst with us on the Prior Richard Way, walkers will come across the Poppleton Community Centre cafe on the outskirts of York, where Fairtrade products are sold and fresh home-baked cakes made from locally sourced ingredients. Another example of our local economy support is Spellows, a café which we frequent that is owned and run by a local farmer’s wife and is conveniently situated on our Day 2 route between Whixley and Arkendale. Accommodation is based with local, independent providers that gives employment to local people as well as offering a service to both tourists and their local economy. Each establishment uses locally sourced ingredients in their kitchens ensuring low food mileage. In our walk itineraries we signpost other pubs, and gift shops where local people are employed and also offer service to both tourists and their local economy.

We live, work, and walk in Yorkshire. Our author, developer of the walking routes and company founder is, therefore, a ' local lad '. With over 23 years of leading walks in the UK and in Europe in all environments and weather conditions you will be in good hands knowing he's planned and mapped the routes so they are easy to navigate. We have funded a Mountain Leader training course for him, and are now funding and supporting him in his preparation for the subsequent Mountain Leader Assessment.

On this holiday you will walk to and spend time at UNESCO World Heritage Site Fountains Abbey ( a National Trust Property ), one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian Abbeys in England which boasts an amazing gift shop and café, once again employing local staff who in turn provide service to visitors and ensuring a local income. The entrance fee to Fountains Abbey is used to fund further restoration and conservation of the Abbey and also to continue to provide employment for local people.

We only use independent accommodation providers on our multi-day walks. These establishments employ local staff and declare that they use local produce as much as possible. We endeavour to review their commitment to this regularly.

Our baggage transfer company is also local to the area that we walk in, again providing valuable income and support to the local economy.


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