Doncaster Ramblers enjoyed a history filled walk to Roche Abbey

Situated beautifully in the valley of Maltby Beck, Roche Abbey is a wonderful place to start a walk. The abbey was founded in 1147, one of the founders being Richard de Busli, probably the great-nephew of Roger de Busli, builder of Tickhill castle.

Saturday, 11th December 2021, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th December 2021, 12:01 pm
Roche Abbey in view

The founding monks came down from Newminster Abbey in Northumberland and this site was chosen for the gushing stream and because it stood on a seam of remarkable rock.

An ancient quarry was developed, the sides of which can still be seen today in the cliff that runs next to the ruins. 25 years later, at the end of the century, the Norman Gothic great church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was completed. At its height it supported a community of 175 men, of whom about 60 were the choir monks, the remainder Cistercian lay brothers. Just over 300 years later, in 1538, on the orders of Thomas Cromwell, the abbey was destroyed.

Four of us started this walk from the car park, walking alongside the Abbey fence and then turning right into King’s Wood. Once through these ancient woods the magnificent spire of All Saints Church in Laughten en le Morthen came into view.

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A soggy walk through the maize

In Laughten we stopped for elevenses on a bench by a childen’s playground before continuing through the village and turning left, along Kitk Croft Road, which is a track into open countryside.

After walking alongside Long Thwaite Wood we entered a delightful sheltered track to reach some cottages, where we turned towards Firbeck. A path just before St Martin’s Church took us to the site of RAF Firbeck, the airfield having been requisitioned by the Air Ministry in 1940 and becoming a base for the 613 Squadron. The memorial, complete with a poppy wreath to mark the recent Remembrance Day, was unveiled in 2011.

Following crossfield paths we reached the village of Stone, where we briefly joined a lane before entering a field, which we crossed, reaching another lane we turned right briefly prior to climbing a stile and walking towards Roche Abbey and a glorious walk.

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Enjoying the fresh air

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Remember while out observe the Countryside Code and give way to other walkers.