In a breathtakingly beautiful valley of the North York Moors, Rievaulx Abbey was founded in the 12th century by French monks.

These monks were granted vast areas of land by the then Lord of Helmsley. The abbey expended and prospered until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536.

Unfortunately, the abbey was dismantled during the Reformation, but this former Cistercian abbey still remains one of the most beautiful monastic sites in Europe.

Today, the abbey ruins are in the care of English Heritage.

You can wander the extensive ruins of the abbey to discover more about the building. On site you will find a museum and a tearoom.


The best views of the abbey are from a landscaped grassy walkway on the hillside above, called Rievaulx Terrace.

Rievaulx Terrace is managed by the National Trust. To get to the terrace you need to follow Rievaulx Bank from the abbey towards the road B1257.

We explored this area on foot, starting from Helmsley Castle.

The route Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey is very well known because it follows the Cleveland Way.

This 7-mile circular route climbs gently for sweeping views of town and castle before dropping down through charming bluebell woods to reach the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.

Via Rievaulx Terrace you will return to Helmsley.

If you would like to walk a bit further, then you should head for Byland Abbey.

This 9-mile linear walk starts at Helmsley and follows the Cleveland Way towards Rievaulx Abbey.

At Rievaulx Abbey follow the path south towards Wass Woods and then on to Byland Abbey.

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Cleveland Way

The 109 miles (175km) Cleveland Way is one of England’s original National Trails.

Starting in the beautiful market town of Helmsley, the first half of the Way crosses the North York Moors National Park.

The vistas from sweeping heather moorlands are amazing!

Upon reaching the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, the second half of the route then follows the North Yorkshire coast as far as Filey.

The coastal section offers some of the best coastal walking in the UK.

Cool Places to Explore: Helmsley Castle | Byland Abbey | Kilburn White Horse | North York Moors Railway | Dalby Forest.

Cool Places to Eat: The Vinehouse Café.

Cool Place to Stay: Hobbits Cottage.