Located four miles from where I live is Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey, a beauty spot that I haven't been to since I was at school. As I'm a big advocate of getting outside and exploring your local area I figured it was time I took my own advice and did some local exploring.
Studley Royal Deer Park is an 800 acre plot of land that is home to a mansion, gardens, a church and many, many deer. The deer park is also home to the UNESCO world heritage site, Fountains Abbey, a grade one listed Cistercian monastery owned by the National Trust.
The Abbey was founded way back when in 1132 and was active until 1539 when Henry VIII, as the supreme head of the church in England, decided that catholicism didn't have a place anymore and started to shut down the monasteries in an attempt to create a protestant Britain.
In the years following, from 1540 to 1983, the land passed between many hands before it was finally handed over to the National Trust. In 1986 it became a UNESCO Heritage Site because it was described as 'fulfilling the criteria of being a masterpiece of human creative genius, and an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history'.
All this history is minutes (in a car) from my house and would you believe I've only been once?
After some discussions about our tummy tyres we decided that a walk to Fountains Abbey was the perfect way to explore our local area AND get a bit of fitness in. Two birds, one stone and all that.
Now I am not a fan of exercise. The most exercise I have done this year is kayaking in Arisaig and that was back in April. It's not that I don't like exercise I would just rather watch TV or go shopping or something. So it's safe to say I was a little bit dubious about spending the best part of my Sunday walking.
Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey are really pretty and we both found ourselves wondering why we had only been a couple of times between us. We're even contemplating joining the National Trust - Does this mean we are getting old?
In total we walked 14.3kms/8.7 miles (19,579 steps) in about three hours and I burned 635 calories.
For someone who doesn't really partake in a lot of fitness activities I was pretty impressed with how far we walked - Although my feet did feel like they were going to drop off and my quads are still burning now.
So if you're looking for a nice walk in the Yorkshire countryside, want to find out some local history and maybe squeeze in a nice lunch, check out Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey.
Just remember to check the weather forecast before you go (We missed a downpour by MINUTES).