Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
Saturday 13 December
Repeated Thursday 18 December
Matt Baker is in North Yorkshire to find out what has attracted so many of the religious orders to the area and how what they have built there has had a huge impact on the landscape.
In this week’s Open Country, Matt Baker is in God's Own Country, North Yorkshire. Stanbrook Abbeyin Worcester are set to move to a brand new state of the art Monastery in the village of Wass, Yorkshire. To combat 21st Century problems like global warming they will be harvesting rainwater to flush toilets and have commissioned a copper roof which will use rock plants to both insulate the building and attract wildlife as it grows.
The remote and beautiful countryside that they will be able to look out on from the many glass windows is a key reason for the move but there is also a fascinating history of monastic buildings in the area which goes back centuries. Byland Abbey is just half a mile away from Wass and its ruins still dominate the landscape. Meanwhile Rievaulx Abbey is even bigger and so close that legend has it that the two Cistercian Monasteries could hear each others bells call and habited dwellers would become confused as to when to leave work to pray.
Whilst Rievaulx and Byland are testament to the skills and ingenuity of pre-Dissolution lay brothers nearby Ampleforth is testament to the educational values of the Benedictine followers. Ampleforth College still thrives today and one of the interesting remnants of the monks need to feed their students is a fantastic orchard. The fruit of this orchard is now so sought after as cider and brandy that the monastery often sells out.
For Father Reiner Verbourg it is the peace and solitude of the orchard which means the most and for the sisters of Stanbrook this may be the biggest draw too once the JCB's have left and they can at last take residence.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites
If you know a special place in the U.K. countryside rich in natural history, history and landscape features then please do contact us