Turner's The Chancel and Crossing of Tintern Abbey
We love visiting ruined abbeys any time of the year. The sense of melancholy that hangs in the air as we walk around these once great buildings, the peace and the amazing locations all add up to a memorable day out.

But the autumn can be the best time of year. On a bright, cold day with some early mist it's so much easier to imagine the medieval communities, busying themselves in these ancient buildings.

This type of reflection is nothing new. Long before the ruined abbeys were built, the Anglo-Saxons were thinking about the demise of much earlier civilisations. They even had a specific word for it: dūstsċēawung, meaning 'contemplation of the dust'. Like us, they realised that - in time - everything turns to dust.

Wondrous is this stone-wall; yet Fate has demolished
The fortress, so the giants' work crumbles.
Roofs are fallen off, towers have fallen down,
Rusty doors broken, frost fills the gap between stones,
The walls that fended off the stormy wind and snow
Are cracked, and crumble in the flow of time.

   (The Ruin, Codex Exoniensis, 10th Century)

St Mary's Abbey, York
Turner's Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire, on the Wharfe