Sometimes you just need to take yourself away from the stresses of work and home life and have a bit of an adventure. This is certainly what we encountered when we set off to explore Bolton Abbey for the first time.

The main arch inside of Bolton Abbey

This outing is less than an hour away from Leeds making it the perfect short road trip and day out. 

Heading straight for the Abbey itself on entry, it's definitely impressive on first sight. We wandered through the ruins and although it is vast and beautiful to look at, there's not a lot to explore other than the inside of the Priory. The stained glass windows inside the old monastery are incredible and some of the architectural features are fascinating (no pictures taken in here out of respect for the Church and those inside!) but it's definitely worth a venture.

I had thought that this would be the peak of the day out however, the absolute highlights of the excursion came far later on in our walk...

A view of the Bolton Priory and Ruins with blue skies in Spring

A wooden door on the outside of the Bolton Priory

Using the stepping stones to get across the river at Bolton Abbey

Ahead of the rest of the walk is a bridge from the Abbey to the woodland, or if you're the more adventurous type, there are 57 stepping stones you can hop between to get to the other side. Of course being children at heart, we opted for the stones and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared of falling in! 

Some of the stones are submerged so definitely make sure you have some waterproof walking shoes to tackle them. We managed it - some shakey hands and a pair of wet Converse later - and followed the directions to Waterfall Cottage.

Close up of boots and a running water stream at Bolton Abbey

Handmade climbing routes on a tree in Yorkshire, with a bell at the top

A close up of old coins pushed into fallen trees

We came across plenty of pretty streams, lots of secluded woodland and even some climbing routes up trees that have been made by some avid, local climbers. I'm pretty sure if David knew how to harness himself up, he would have attempted to climb and ring the bell installed at the top!

One of the most interesting bits of this route section include some fallen trees. Three of them are peppered with old and new coins, all aptly named 'the money tree'. There is no explanation as to why it was decided that coins would be hammered or pushed into the wood by visitors, but the trees were originally pushed to the side of the walkway and left from the 1980's, in order to provide home for insects despite no longer standing.

A sign pointing towards the Valley of Desolation

A beautiful waterfall in secluded woodland at Bolton Abbey

A couple selfie of the waterfall

The Valley of Desolation certainly sounds desolate, but it's actually an area of the site which has been recovering completely naturally after a huge storm destroyed it in the 1800s.

The final treat on our venture was finding the waterfall in a secluded area of the woodland.
We took an unsigned route (partly because we're useless at directions, and partly because we're more kickass and daring than Dora the Explorer) after the Valley of Desolation down, down and even further down until we found the beautiful, isolated waterfall.

If you want to follow a similar but probably less risky route, check out this map from the Bolton Abbey website.

Walking over a bridge on a Yorkshire walk route

Take a look at the rest of their website for some more information, maps and suggestions on other walks to embark upon when you arrive. Hopefully you've enjoyed following our adventure and are inspired to head there soon!