The University of York Outdoor Society

Outdoor Society

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Week 3: Sunday Walk in Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey headed by the Abbot of Rievaulx. It is located in the village of Rievaulx (pronounced REE-voh), near Helmsley in North Yorkshire, England.

It was once one of the wealthiest abbey's in England and was dissolved by Henry VIII of England in 1538. Its ruins are now a tourist attraction. It is owned by the National Trust and takes about 20-30 minutes to look around.

The walk will start in Rievaulx Abbey and end in Helmsley, so you will not be able to spend the day in Rievaulx. However, there is plenty to do in Helmsley, and medium walkers will almost certainly have free time there.

The walk from Rievaulx to Helmsley offers stunning views and woodland scenery.

Helmsley is an attractive market town which has a ruined castle, also owned by English Heritage, a stunning church and Duncombe Park can also look quite good when the weather is fair. There are also some nice shops and good ice creams!

We'll take a coach to Rievaulx Abbey, and from there split into two groups, one group takes a medium-length walk whilst the second group take on a larger route. Both walks are preplanned and lead by our trained walk leaders.

Medium walks are generally between 6 and 8 miles (10-13 km) long, and tend to be at a reasonably gentle pace and always include a stop for a pub lunch. Long walks are slightly more challenging and are between 10 and 12 miles (16-19 km) long and don't include a pub lunch but instead stop for a packed lunch along the way. At 4.00pm all the groups meet back at the coach and return back to the University, arriving no later than 6.00pm.

A view around Rievaulx Abbey

What to Bring

We run both medium and long walks - if you choose the medium walk, please bring money for a pub lunch, as not all places take card payments, and if you choose to do the long walk, please bring a packed lunch, as there is no guarantee that you'll be able to buy food when we get there.

Please wear appropriate clothing for a walk in the Yorkshire countryside! Walking boots are best, but if you don't have any, sturdy trainers or wellies should be fine. Also please avoid wearing jeans, because they get very unpleasant to wear when it rains. As this is Yorkshire, you should always be prepared for rain, no matter HOW sunny it looks, so remember to bring waterproofs or other appropriate wet weather gear.

When and Where to Meet Us

We meet near the white benches outside the Roger Kirk Centre in James College at 8.45am. Arrival time back to campus varies depending on where we are walking but we're normally back between 5-6pm.


These walks are open to everyone, the prices are as follows: Members pay £9, and non-members pay £11. To book a place on the trip, you must purchase a ticket from the YUSU website.

Tickets for the medium route go on sale from Monday - Wednesday of the given timetable week, and the long route tickets are available all week. Everyone purchases the same ticket, and if you're not a member, we'll ask for an extra £2 on the day.

If you wish to join the medium group but didn't purchase a ticket before Wednesday, you can purchase a long route ticket, however you must bring a packed lunch with you, as we can't gurantee you a spot in the pub for food!