2017 has just started and today, 2nd January, was a glorious day in this part of the world, so it seemed a great opportunity to get outside. We took a trip to Croxden Abbey, or more formally, Abbey of the Vale of St. Mary at Croxden, in Staffordshire. The abbey started life in 1176 when Bertram de Verdun, Lord of the manor of Croxden, provided a site near Alton – as in Alton Towers – for twelve cistercian monks. In 1179, the monks moved the few miles to Croxden, and over the years, the abbey expanded. In 1538, the abbey was disestablished and the land sold off. The church remained in use until 1886 when it was replaced by a newer building.
The ruins were passed into the keeping of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in 1936, before being passed to English Heritage who maintain the site today.
The abbey is not far from the A50, but a few miles of minor roads mean that there is little passing traffic to the site itself. This provides a wonderful air or calm and tranquility, and on a day like today when all was still and the sky was wonderfully blue and bright, Croxden Abbey is quite a sight. It is easily accessible, and like many English Heritage sites, is free to access, with a little lay by where a few cars can park. Although the site is in ruins, enough of the original buildings remain to give an idea of the size and scale of the abbey, aided by archaeological excavations in the 1960s which uncovered the foundations of buildings that are no longer standing.
Although most of the site is on one side of the road, the road does dissect the abbey location, and there is a small section on the opposite side of the road to the lay by, with a good panoramic view of the rest of the abbey.
It’s a lovely view and well worth a stop. If you find yourself on the A50 near Uttoxeter with a bit of time spare, go and have a look.
Click on the photo below to see a gallery of photos in Flickr.