In photos: Kirkstall Abbey gardens in the sun


Words: Gretel Price. Photos: Susan Tellum

Once again, photographer Susan Tellum has been out with her camera, capturing the breathtaking Kirkstall Abbey and beautiful Abbey gardens in the sunshine.

In these photos, Susan captures the ethereal and enchanting wildlife and the remains of the ancient Abbey. 

Many artists and photographers love to explore the beauty of the Abbey and translate it into their pieces, including JMW Turner, Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman. 

Surrounding the ruins of the Abbey are the Abbey House Gardens, which are a beautiful and peaceful place to go for a walk, smell the flowers and look around!

Here’s a slideshow of photos from the Abbey gardens and the nearby cenotaph:

The Abbey House Gardens are supported by volunteers from the Friends Of Kirkstall Abbey Park group, who assure that the gardens are cared for. 

Susan Tellum said: “The Abbey House Gardens are a credit to the volunteers and with a visit. Smell the honeysuckle and roses! And there are fine roses planted at the Kirkstall cenotaph too.”

The planters around the cenotaph are looked after by volunteers from Kirkstall in Bloom.

Roses at the cenotaph. Photo: Susan Tellum

There are also many interesting activities and community groups to get involved in based around the park and gardens, such as the Live Well at Leeds gardening group which focuses on both looking after and expanding on the nature and  environment.

Abbey history

Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined medieval monastery which was founded in 1152 by a community of monks from Fountains Abbey as a place of religious worship housing monks and nuns. 

Monasteries such as Kirkstall were major for all Cistercian European society,  their initial intention was to serve as a religious community devoted to the continual worship of God. 

However, it was surrendered to Henry VII during the dissolution of the Monasteries in late 1540 and remains in the same state from the destruction. 

Although it is not the same as it was when first built, Kirkstall Abbey is in fact one of the most complete and best reserved Cistercian Monasteries in Britain- the church still stands to roof level!

Another aspect of history also in Kirkstall, located just outside the park of the Abbey is the Kirkstall cenotaph.

It commemorates the men of Kirkstall who died in World War I and World War II and is a space to allow others to pay their respects. 


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