There are three railway stations within two miles of Furness Abbey, Dalton to the north, Roose to the south and Barrow-on-Furness to the west, all run by Northern Rail. There’s also a First TransPennine Express that stops on the Edinburgh-to-Manchester line. To get to Barrow-in-Furness from the south, take a train to Preston and change there for local services. From Barrow-in-Furness station, take the number 6 or X6 bus to Ostley House, and walk 13 minutes to the abbey.
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Level access via ramp.
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The Abbey of St Mary of Furness is a former monastery dating back to 1123 – at one point, it was the second most powerful Cistercian monastery in the country, after Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. Built out of local sandstone in The Vale of Nightshade, it was handed to the Cistercians, who developed and extended it until it achieved its greatest power and influence in the fifteenth century.
The English Reformation under Henry VIII led to the dissolution of the monasteries, and Furness Abbey suffered the fate of so many others, being disestablished and destroyed in 1537. It has lain in picturesque ruins ever since, and is now a popular scenic tourist attraction on the Cistercian Way. William Wordsworth frequently visited the site, and Joseph Turner made a number of etchings of the abbey.
Furness Abbey is an impressively large complex of ruins set in pleasant rolling countryside. There is ongoing conservation work to prevent the abbey church sinking into the soft ground, so expect some scaffolding. There is a museum with an interesting collection of stone carvings and effigies, and gardens with plenty of room for children to play.