Boxing Day pilgrimage to Fountains Abbey

The annual Boxing Day pilgramage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey approaches the abbey via Studley Royal. (S)
The annual Boxing Day pilgramage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey approaches the abbey via Studley Royal. (S)

Walkers from across the district took part in the annual Boxing Day pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey.

This year they were commemorating the re-opening of the four-mile route after foot-and-mouth ravaged the countryside a decade ago.

More than 1,400 people took part, some travelling from as far afield as Newcastle.

The foot-and-mouth crisis saw the estate around the World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey closed for almost a year before footpaths were re-opened for the Boxing Day walk in 2001.

Spokesman for the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, Canon John Carter, said: “The tenth anniversary was a bitter-sweet occasion and it served as a reminder of how important rural communities and the countryside are to us all.

“We saw people from across the region and beyond attend the walk and prayers were said for people living in the countryside and the farming industry.”

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, John Packer, led the pilgrimage, which was first staged in 1982 and traces the route of the monks who set off from Ripon Cathedral on December 26, 1132 to found Fountains Abbey.