Historic abbey given a festive glow as lights brighten up dark days of winter

VISITORS to one of Yorkshire's historic abbeys were given a festive light show yesterday when the historic ruins were illuminated.

The Christmas-themed illuminations bathed the remains of Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, in light as part of a series of events which are being staged at the World Heritage site this month.

Hundreds of walkers are due to take part at the weekend in the traditional Boxing Day pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey.

The four-mile pilgrimage, which last year attracted nearly 1,100 walkers, will still go ahead despite Boxing Day falling on a Sunday this year. The walk sets off at about 10.15am, following a short service of Holy Communion in the cathedral.

The pilgrimage will follow the River Skell out of Ripon, through the Studley Royal Deer Park and on to the National Trust site at Fountains Abbey.

The Dean of Ripon, Keith Jukes, said: "This walk is a pilgrimage which brings people together from near and far.

"Being a pilgrimage, it also has a spiritual significance as we remember the Cistercian monks who founded the abbey at Fountains."

The abbey estate is open daily from 10am in December and January except on Fridays and on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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