NORTH Yorkshire Council has approved plans to reconfigure and extend the spa at The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa near Bolton Abbey.

The 40-room hotel has welcomed guests since the 18th century and is around 1km from the Bolton Abbey ruins.

Some former agricultural buildings opposite the hotel were converted into a spa in 1997 and it includes a thermal pool, steam room, sauna, treatment rooms as well as a small gym in the adjacent Huffa Bridge cottage.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, tents were erected on an outdoor tennis court to create a pop-up spa which the hotel said demonstrated a desire for guests to have an experience that was better connected with the surrounding landscape.

The plans will see the current spa reconfigured to improve the facility and a new bath house built adjacent to Huffa Lane to offer new treatment rooms and relaxation areas.

A new swimming pond will be created on the site of the tennis court and the plans will also see improved landscaping, a new bridge crossing and reconfiguration of the existing car park.

Heat pumps and solar panels will be installed to generate renewable energy.

The hotel is owned by the Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group (DHRG) and is part of the wider Bolton Abbey estate. Documents state revenue generated by the spa improvements will help to contribute to the upkeep of the area.

The group brings together the charities, businesses and estates in the care of the Devonshire family, including Chatsworth in Derbyshire, the Lismore Estate in County Waterford, and the Compton Estate in Sussex.

DHRG said: “The proposed development has been a long-standing aspiration for the estate to improve the current facilities, which are outdated and in need of significant investment in order to meet modern market demands for a more diverse range of thermal treatments, as well as more basic operational requirements following the Covid 19 pandemic.

“The proposals seeks to transform the existing spa offering in order to improve the visitor experience and to connect the spa experience more directly to the landscape enabling guests to engage more closely”