abbey walks

Rievaulx Way

abbey monk  This 51.8km / 32 mile linear walk starts at St Mary's Abbey, York and finishes at Rievaulx Abbey, Helmsley.

The Rievaulx Way is steeped in history. It is likely that in the 12th century Cistercian Monks travelling from their mother abbey of Citeaux, Dijon would have stayed at St Mary's Abbey, York whilst en-route to Rievaulx Abbey. After leaving St Mary's they would have stayed at abbey granges as they traveled north, but it is impossible to determine the exact route.  In 1316, Stage 1 would have been blanketed in the Royal Galtres Forest of 100,000 acres, predominantly Silver Birch trees.


The start of this two or three day modern interpretation of the Cistercian monk's journey, the Rievaulx Way, leaves York past the Minster and through the original Roman city gate of Monkbar. The route then follows parts of the Foss Walk along sections of the river path as well as fields and quiet country lanes, through and out of the Vale of York and into the Howardian Hills an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It also passes through the medieval villages of Haxby, Farlington and Marton, the latter having been home to a Priory founded in 1154 which consisted of a double house of Augustinian Monks and Benedictine Nuns.


There is the option of accommodation in Haxby to break the 30.9 km /19 mile journey to Crayke.


The Rievaulx Way passes through Crayke, where St. Cuthbert is said to have had a monastery in the 7th century, and then on to Wass Grange which was where the grain from nearby Byland Abbey was housed. Just outside Wass is Stanbrook Abbey which 'relocated' from the south of England in 2009 and is now home to Benedictine Nuns. It is possible to visit or stay at Stanbrook Abbey overnight before reaching Rievaulx Abbey.


Click on a stage name to get details and see map information.


Stage Name                     Distance (km)    Distance (miles)    Time (hours)

St Mary's Abbey, York to Haxby



2.5 - 3

Haxby to Crayke                         



6 - 6.5

Crayke to Rievaulx Abbey 



5 - 5.5


Route Overview:



Interactive Google Map:



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Walking can be a dangerous sport.  Walkers should always be suitably equipped, including carrying and knowing how to use a map and compass.