Our visit to Netley Abbey is a bit longer ago and was during early spring last year. That’s why the trees have no leaves… It was one of the first sunny weekends after a long winter, one of those where you simply have to go out and enjoy the blue sky and some daylight.
Visiting Netley Abbey is free. You can just walk around and get close to everything – no bars, no fences, nothing. Info boards are placed at several places around the area and tell about the history for those who are interested and want to know more about it.
Built in the 13th century, Netley Abbey is the most complete Cistercian monestary on the English south coast. After the monestary was dissolved, the buildings were converted to a mansion and were used as a country house by Tudor politician William Paulet. At the beginning of the 18th century the buildings were abandoned and slowly developed to a ruin and to what we can see and visit today. I seem to remember that one of the info boards also mentioned that the ruin process was fairly quick because bricks and wood were sold and carried away. Apparently, the building components had a higher value than the building itself.
Netley Abbey is an impressive ruin and I like that you can walk around without restrictions. The area is quite spacious and could also be used for a family picnic.
The place is quite idyllic with its ruins enclosed by trees and a small creek passing. I remember how impressed I was to see the first wild Primroses…. More than a year later I know how common they are here and I’ve seen plenty.
If you want to do more, the sea and Royal Victoria Country Park are not far.