Byland Abbey

Byland Coxwold YO61 4BD

Formerly one of the greatest early Gothic buildings in northern England, Byland Abbey has been in ruins since the Dissolution in the sixteenth century. But what survives, as at Rievalux and elsewhere, is magnificent. It's beautifully sited, a mile and a half outside Coxwold, and the haunting stones rise up dramatically as you approach, culminating in the stupendous west front with its ruined rose window. Some coloured medieval floor tiles can still be seen in the west cloister; other archeological finds are contained in the fascinating on-site museum. Sadly, the Abbey Inn over the road no longer operates as a pub (though it is an upmarket B&B), but the hamlet of Wass is only a ten-minute walk or two-minute drive up the road with its excellent Wombwell Arms.

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