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January visit to Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery founded in 1152 on the banks of the River Aire in north-west Leeds. It became a public park in the late 19th century and includes gardens and a museum.

We gathered here for our picnic and at last met our new member Trisha for the first time (other than a previous zoom)! We then walked the Leeds Liverpool canal to Kirkstall Forge Station for further refreshments.

This area was a working forge until 1995. The history of the forge can be dated to a 12th century mill race which powered a corn mill for the monks of Kirkstall Abbey. Iron production began in the 16th century, making it the oldest forge in England. In 2016 a railway station was opened and the whole site is now undergoing redevelopment whilst preserving parts of the original forge buildings.