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Shining Lights of the North Way

N Yorkshire

56 km / 35 miles
This linear walk starting in Helmsley, North Yorkshire follows monastic footsteps made between three famous abbeys: Rievaulx Abbey, Byland Abbey and Fountains Abbey. These three abbeys are linked in history by being known in monastic circles and described by the 12th century historian and Augustinian Canon William of Newburgh, as the 'shining lights of the North'. This walk incorporates crossings of the rivers Ure, Swale and Rye/Skell and passes through the medieval village of Coxwold and town of Boroughbridge. The route finally skirts around Ripon which was founded in the 7th Century by St Wilfrid and was then known as Inhrypum.

Shining Lights of the North is but the first three sections of a much longer international route called the St Bernard's Way. The full route is covered on the Abbey Walks website below that provides detailed route descriptions and background to the abbeys and other useful information for walkers. On this LDWA website summary details are shown for the route within England only - see link below for St Bernard's Way under 'Other Paths'.

St. Bernard's Way is a 1573.4 km / 977.7 mile long distance walking route from Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire, England to Citeaux Abbey, south of Dijon in France. It has been created in recognition of monastic travels that were undertaken in the 12th to 14th centuries, and of St. Bernard of Clairvaux who was instrumental in the development and expansion of the Cistercian Order. St. Bernard's Way follows the popular pilgrim route 'Via Francigena' between Canterbury and Beaujeu, France, where the St. Bernard's Way then continues on its own route to Citeaux Abbey. This is the route that the Abbot of Rievaulx Abbey and his companions will have taken each year in order to attend their General Chapter meeting at Citeaux Abbey on Holy Day, 11 September.


Path Type: Other Paths
Attributes: Other Paths
Average Gradients
Start: SE611839 - Helmsley, N Yorkshire View on StreetMap
Finish: SE272684 - Fountains Abbey, Ripon, N Yorkshire View on StreetMap
Open Date: 2015
Web Sites: Shining Lights of the North Way


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Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 99, 100
OS Landranger Active 99, 100
OS Explorer 26, 298, 299
OS Explorer Active 26, 298, 299

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Walkers are Welcome
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39 km

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Route Profile:

55.7 km (34.6 miles)
665 m (2,182 ft) ascent
275 m (902 ft)  maximum height

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