Trying to utilise my corporate membership to English Heritage, I decided to have a look on their site for a new place to visit in our area. I came across Roche Abbey, which I had never heard of or been to. My father had some reservations, as he is a creature of habit, and I think would have much preferred a visit to the old faithful Brodsworth Hall. We arrived with trepidation of the impending 'I told you so' s, when it did not live up to much.
The road down to Roche Abbey is narrow and bumpy, with only room for one car. There is not a great deal of parking, but we went, on a busy bank holiday Monday, there was still some spaces left. Without English Heritage membership, you must pay £3.50 for entry, which I initially felt was very reasonable. I had been concerned about accessibility, but we meandered through the ruins with ease with our pushchair. There is a small sign warning visitors not to climb on the ruins, which we had not seen until we left. I admit I had no desire to clamber atop a pile of stones with questionable stability, but witnessed others being chastised for doing this. It would have been nice for this warning to have been made more clear, as one gentleman looked mortified when he was told by security not to stand on a stone to get an unobstructed picture of his daughter. This is not to say that the staff were rude or unpleasant just that this should have been made clear before entry.
Roche Abbey is nice for a small walk, a picnic or a nice place to go and read a book sat on a bench. It had a peaceful tranquility even with several visitors walking round. The view of the Abbey is beautiful and I'm sure a more talented photographer could have captured some stunning images. To walk around the Abbey only takes around 10 minutes, but as we wanted to take advantage of the sunny weather we were planning a barbecue for the afternoon, this was ideal. I would propose tagging on a visit to the nearby Conisbrough Castle, if you are wanting a more substantial day trip out. My main issue with Roche Abbey is that I do not think that I would actually go inside in hindsight. There is a public footpath down the side of the site leading to a field that has a comprehensive panorama of the Abbey and plenty of space for picnics. Although, £3.50 is not a lot of money, if a whole family was visiting, I would suggest exploiting the fortuitous public footpath. The English Heritage site includes a shop stocking gifts, books and refreshments.
The effect on my final image was accomplished by using the program GIMP. (my favourite free to download image editing tool) I did this by going into Colors and then Threshold. I really urge you to try GIMP, as every time I use it I stumble across some great effects. My ambition is to really try to get to grips with all of the endless capabilities it possesses.
Visit Roche Abbey website for more details.