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I sometimes think there’s a treasure around every corner in Yorkshire. Driving home from Helmsley during the week I thought I’d take the longer way round, avoiding Sutton Bank… it ended up being more than two hours longer as I couldn’t resist stopping off at Byland Abbey and Coxwold. In the twelfth-century the abbey must have been magnificent – up there with Rievaulx, Kirkstall and Fountains. Even today, the ruins in their idyllic rural setting make you marvel at the skills of those medieval craftsmen. In Coxwold I had to look at Shandy Hall, that quirky little much-modified fifteenth-century building which later became the home of a similarly quirky writer Laurence Sterne. Man has certainly made a mark on this area I thought as I drove by the Victorian folly of the White Horse which was clearly visible on the hillside as I made my way from Coxwold to Thirsk.

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