Ripon pilgrims follow the footsteps of Benedictine monks


Last updated Sep 5, 2021
The pilgrims outside Ripon Cathedral with Canon Barry Pyke pictured centre

A group of 90 pilgrims, walked from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey yesterday – a journey linking two national treasures.

Led by Canon Barry Pyke, the Ripon Together Yorkshire Pilgrimage traced the steps of the 13 Benedictine monks who, in 1132 AD, were the original founders of the abbey.

The cathedral, founded in 672 AD by Ripon’s patron saint, Wilfrid, celebrates its 1350th anniversary next year.

Before setting off at 12.30pm, there was a special service inside the ancient building and prayers for a safe journey on the steps outside, said by the Revd Pyke.

The walkers were supported by police and marshals at road crossings along the route and with PCs Mike Spittleton and Dom Webb of Ripon Police taking part in the three mile walk with the pilgrims.

Photo of pilgrims approaching the gates to Studley Royal Park

Pilgrims progress as they approach the gates of Studley Royal Park

Every Boxing Day for 45 years, a pilgrimage between the iconic sites had taken place, until the covid pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 event.

The pilgrimage, was part of the Welcome to Yorkshire, Walkshire programme and linked with Ripon Together’s Healthy Journeying campaign, which encourages people to walk in the local and wider Yorkshire countryside, following the lifting of covid restrictions.

Photo of pilgrims approaching Fountains Abbey

Journey nearly completed – the pilgrims with the abbey ruins in view

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Reverend John Dobson, has underlined on many occasions the health and wellbeing benefits that people of all ages can gain from walking and cycling.

He said:

“Ripon Together has been promoting walking and cycling for a couple of years now.  This was a fantastic opportunity for the people of Ripon and across the region to walk together from the oldest cathedral in the country to Fountains Abbey, one of Yorkshire’s World Heritage Sites.

“Ripon Together is devoted to improving the wellbeing of people in Ripon and the area.

“I am delighted that people are uniting to encourage healthy journeying.”

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Further walks and cycle routes can be found at


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