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3 historic Abbeys around the Ribble Valley

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Whalley Abbey

With just a hop, skip and a train you can find yourselves in Whalley to visit the 14th Century Cistercian Abbey ruins set in beautiful gardens and woodland beside the River Calder in The Ribble Valley.

Turner was commissioned to make several watercolours of Whalley in Lancashire for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s 'History of the Parish of Whalley' around 1799. Whalley abbey had been a Cistercian monastery until it was closed in 1537. It was in ruins when Turner visited in 1799. His watercolour was in keeping with the fashion for ‘picturesque’ views. This term described real landscapes that looked ‘like a picture’ and often included ruins that were thought to enhance the scene’s beauty.

Open daily from 10.00am – 4.30pm Cloisters Coffee Shop serves light meals, cakes & refreshments . The Gift Shop sells tickets to the grounds and woodland walk, souvenirs, books and gifts. There is also an exhibition describing the historic and spiritual roots of The Abbey. Pre booked guided tours of the ruins are available on request.

Sawley Abbey

The remains of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1148, set against a backdrop of dramatic hills.

In spring 1536 Sawley surrendered during Henry VIII’s Suppression of the Monasteries. However, that autumn, during the northern rising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, the abbey was restored under a new abbot, William Trafford. The rebellion failed and Trafford was hanged at Lancaster in March 1537 and the abbey immediately plundered of its valuables.

During the following three centuries all the high-quality stone was taken and reused in neighbouring farms and cottages, and many of the abbey buildings disappeared. In 1848 the first archaeological investigation of the ruins was undertaken, and during the 20th century the site was taken into the care of the state, cleared of debris and conserved.

Bolton Abbey (near Skipton)

We know it's 40 minutes away from our glamping retreat in Langho but we highly recommend exploring the ruins of the Priory and discovering a landscape full of history and legend. With 30,000 acres of beautiful countryside boast over 80 miles of footpaths to walk there is something for all the family.

Walk along the riverside, woodland and moorland paths and enjoy local produce in the excellent restaurants, tea rooms and cafes, treat yourself in the quality gift shops or simply relax beside the river with a picnic whilst the children play - Bolton Abbey has it all.

Since 1755 Bolton Abbey has been in the care of the Devonshire family. The landscape at Bolton Abbey inspires, and has been admired in the past by artists such as Turner, Ruskin and Royle, as well as the poet Wordsworth. We hope you find it as inspiring as they did.

Electric wheelchairs are available to borrow between April and October giving access to the Priory Ruins, riverside, Strid Wood and the Strid.

Top Tip: Pre book the parking online:

Are you visiting the Ribble Valley?

Why not try something a bit different.

Check out our Glamping Retreat here

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