Last Week’s Shoot – Studley Royal

I did a walk from Ripon to Studley Royal in the summer and decided to put it on my list of autumn shoots this year.  Although there’s not a lot of dense woodland, the area around The Lake has plenty of nice looking trees and I thought there would be a few opportunities for reflections in the right light.

Studley Royal Water Gardens in Autumn
Fishing Tabernacle and Weir at The Lake below the Water Gardens, Studley Royal

So, I picked a nice overcast morning and set off across the meadows from Ripon.  The colours around The Lake were lovely and the fishing tabernacles by the weir made an interesting subject – as did the National Trust tea room in its splendid lakeside setting at the entrance to the Fountains Abbey estate (featured image, top).

St Marys Church at Studley Royal
St Marys Church at Studley Royal near Ripon, Yorkshire

After a while the sun started to break through the cloud cover, so I turned my attention to the magnificent St Mary’s Church and the nearby obelisk which suited the autumn sunshine rather better.

Red Deer Grazing at Studley Royal
Red Deer at Studley Royal Deer Park

As it’s autumn and the deer rut is in full swing, the deer park was busy with numerous deer – I had spotted fallow deer on the walk along the drive from Studley Roger and up near the church a group of red deer were grazing under the watchful eye of a stag.

Seven Bridges Valley at Studley Royal
Footbridges over the River Skell in Seven Bridges Valley

As the sun began to descend I made my way back to the Seven Bridges Walk which follows the valley of the River Skell downstream from The Lake.

Autumn Colours in Seven Bridges Valley at Studley Royal
Autumn Colours in Seven Bridges Valley

The valley is quite well shaded so, along one side at least, the trees were in nice open shade which provided good even lighting for a bit more autumn photography.

Autumn Leaves on a Riverbed in Chinese Wood near Ripon
Autumn Leaves on the Dry Riverbed of the River Skell in Chinese Wood

Just below The Lake there seemed to be enough water in the River Skell to warrant using the footbridges rather than following the track across the fords, but further downstream and into Chinese Wood the river was completely dry – but autumn had supplied a river of leaves instead which provided probably my favourite subject of the day.

Ripon Cathedral in Autumn
Ripon Cathedral in Autumn from Plumpton Hall near Studley Royal

Emerging from the woods the path cuts back across to Studley Roger and affords fine views back to Ripon, where the last rays of the setting sun illuminated the cathedral in the distance, which made a lovely final shot for the days efforts.


About marksunderland

Mark Sunderland is a retired landscape and travel photographer still taking the occasional photograph! For image licensing and prints see

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