The North York Moors is a special place, forged by nature, shaped over generations – where peace and beauty rub shoulders with a rich history and a warm welcome
North York Moors is a national park in North Yorkshire, England, containing one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the United Kingdom. It covers an area of 554 square miles (1,430 km2), and has a population of 23,380. The North York Moors became a National Park in 1952, through the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.
The east of the area is characterised by the impressive cliffs of the North Sea coast. The northern and western boundaries are defined by the steep scarp slopes of the Cleveland Hills edging the Tees lowlands and the Hambleton Hills above the Vale of Mowbray. To the south lies the broken line of the Tabular Hills and the Vale of Pickering.
Map of walking Guides for North York Moors (and North Yorkshire)
Dotted throughout the North York Moors are bustling market towns and picturesque villages with warm welcomes and intriguing local tales from smugglers to industrious monks.
Timeless stone-built villages nestling in peaceful dales score highly on charm while also being living records of human habitation. Hutton le Hole is a big favourite, with wandering sheep on its pristine green and tinkling streams, Thornton le Dale is pretty as a picture, while Goathland is probably our most famous for the TV series ‘Heartbeat’.
The picturesque market town on the banks of the River Rye has a gracious setting, sheltered beneath the remains of a medieval castle. There’s a fine market square and ancient market cross-market day is Friday – as well as some delightful alleys and independent shops in town. It's also the winner of Britain’s Best Market Town in the Great British High Street Awards 2015.
The beautiful ruins of Rievaulx Abbey are just a short walk away, while Helmsley is the gateway to the western side of the National Park with its stunning dales and moorland walks.
Malton and Norton
Malton and neighbouring Norton, on the banks of the River Derwent, have been settled since Roman times and have been associated with the training of thoroughbred racehorses for 300 years. Now billed as 'Yorkshire's food capital', the thriving market town of Malton is making a new name for itself as a foodie destination. Lively market days, and a growing number of artisan producers and places to eat and drink make the towns a great base for the North York Moors and the nearby Yorkshire Wolds.
Pickering is a busy market town on the edge of the North York Moors, set between the castle, church and river, with handsome streets, tucked-away alleys and quiet corners to explore. It's best known for its heritage railway, but also has lots of other local attractions, from history museum to nearby Roman site. Market day is Monday, and there's a farmers' market on the first Thursday of each month.
Kirkbymoorside is an historic market town with all essential amenities including free public WiFi and short stay parking in the town centre. Its population of approx. 3500, makes Kirkbymoorside feel more like a large village than a town - and with its attractive marketplace, Memorial Hall and ruined castle is a charming place to visit. The name ‘Kirkbymoorside’ means ‘place with a church by the moor’, referring to the Parish Church of All Saints which dates back to the 9th century.
Visitors flock year-round to the most atmospheric town along the Yorkshire coast. The famous abbey ruins on the clifftop, and cobbled Georgian old town below form a beautiful backdrop to days on the sandy beach or strolls around the vibrant harbour.
Captain Cook learned his trade here in the 18th century, while in the 19th century Whitby expanded with the arrival of the railway. Steam trains still serve the town, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from Pickering and Grosmont, while the Esk Valley Railway offers a scenic trip through the heart of the beautiful Esk Valley.
North York Moors Coast
Sandwiched between beautiful moorland and the North Sea is a very special 26-mile strip of heritage coastline, brimming with mini adventures and maritime curiosities. The picturesque fishing villages between Saltburn and Cloughton are all part of the North York Moors National Park and have a quirky, independent charm of their own. With winding streets and tiny cottages, each one has its own tale to tell, from smuggling and artisan communities to pioneering high seas adventurers.
It's also dinosaur country! The unspoilt coastline has footprints and fossils from the Jurassic Age in the cliffs and rocks at the water's edge. Towering sea cliffs tumble down to beautiful sandy beaches and sheltered coves.
Relive those childhood seaside holidays. There are cliff-top footpaths to walk, rugged cliffs with views to savour, hidden bays to discover and more... What are you waiting for?
Walking Guides for North York Moors
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