Located in North Yorkshire, the North York Moors is a national park regulated by the North York Moors National Park Authority. In contrast to National Parks in some other countries, the North York Moors are not public land; the National Park status, which it received in 1952, prevents inappropriate development.
Displaying a range of stunning landscapes: heather-clad hills, woodland, impressive sea cliffs and secluded beaches; this area is one of the gems of Britain. At 554 square miles and with more than 1,400 miles of paths and tracks to choose from it really is worth a lengthy stay to truly enjoy the many faces of this part of the world. The National Park includes the largest continuous expanse of heather moorland in England while the seaward edge of the National Park is a Heritage Coast, 45 miles of stunning coastline running from Saltburn in the north to the edge of Scarborough in the south and including many traditional fishing villages to visit.
The history of the North York Moors can be explored through the many prehistoric sites found dotted around the park including remains of burial chambers, forts and stone circles. The Yorkshire Coast is a favourite spot for fossil hunters, mainly providing samples from the Jurassic period although Speeton is a rare example of the later Cretaceous.
The North York Moors are a plateau, or table-land, with a sudden drop-off to the north, west and south, and sea-cliffs to the east. The plateau is covered with tree-less moor, interspersed with narrow valleys.
Flora and fauna
As one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the world, this plant undoubtedly dominates the landscape. The moors change colour throughout the months of the year depending on the type of heather that is in bloom. A variety of bog plants and heathland plants can also be found.
Merlin, Golden Plover, Red Grouse, Curlew, Lapwing, Ring Ouzel and Adder can all be found on the North York Moors. Lobster and crab are common along the coast from Staithes to Scarborough.
- Leeds-Bradford Airport is the closest airport with a range of flights across western Europe including London Heathrow, Paris CDG and Amsterdam.
- Durham Teesvalley airport has very few flights.
- Newcastle Airport has similar flights to Leeds-Bradford.
- The Esk Valley line operates mainline train services from Middlesbrough to Whitby calling at many of the moorland villages along the Esk Valley
- There is a heritage steam railway which runs from Pickering to Grosmont. Services join the mainline at Grosmont and run through to Whitby, particularly in peak season.
- From Leeds the nearest train stations are Malton or Scarborough, from here take the bus.
Fees and permits
There is a comprehensive Moorsbus service, which runs from April to October and can take you (and your dog!) all across the park. You can hop on and off at the many stops and by parking your car at designated areas and taking the bus, you are also saving this wonderful environment from unnecessary pollution.
- 1 Castle Howard, Malton YO60 7DA (off A64). Daily 10:30-17:00 (gardens from 10:00). Magnificent Baroque 18th C stately home designed by Vanbrugh, in extensive gardens. It's much in demand as a film & TV location, best known being Brideshead Revisited. Adult £19, child £10.
- 2 Yorkshire Lavender, Terrington YO60 6PB (3 miles west of Castle Howard), ☎ . Daily 10:00-17:00. 60 hillside acres of lavender farm and parkland, set in the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Jun-Aug adult £3, Sept-May free.
- 3 Eden Camp. A wartime base turned into a museum.
- Farndale. Famed for its beautiful wild daffodils and attracts about forty thousand visitors a year just to see them. Generally at their best during the first two weeks of April (weather dependent) it is believed that medieval monks brought the first daffodils to the area. If you visit at this time of year then you must do the daffodil walk, which is about 1½ miles (2½ kilometres) long and runs alongside the River Dove between Low Mill and High Mill. You will find welcome refreshments at the Daffy Caffy and if it has been raining, take your Wellington boots - it can be very muddy!
- Helmsley is a lovely market town at the south-western edge of the park. It is a popular foodie destination, with plenty of places to stay, eat and drink, good shopping, and historic sites including a castle and one of England's finest mediaeval abbeys, Rievaulx Abbey is a few miles outside the town.
- Pickering - a pretty town with a castle and steam railway.
- Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley
- Robin Hood's Bay - south of Whitby
- 4 Roseberry Topping. a "mini matterhorn", the last hill of the North York Moors which overlooks industrial Teesside.
- 5 Sutton Bank. Edge of the North York Moors National Park and the Hambleton Hills and a viewpoint for miles around.
- Whitby - delightful seaside town with spectacular cliffs
- North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway from Pickering 18 miles (29 km) through the Moors to famous coastal town of Whitby. Featured on UK TV series Heartbeat and the Harry Potter film.
- If you are not sure about going out on your own then a great way to see the park in all its glory is with a guide. Guided walks and mountain bike rides can all be booked and with 500 miles (800 km) of bridleways throughout the park, horseback is a fabulous way to see this amazing countryside. If you have your own horse you could spend a week trekking in the area staying at designated B&Bs, or there are plenty of stables dotted around who will happily take you on hacks.
- Go Ape is a tree-top assault course in the Dalby Forest.
There is a place near Helmsley (more specifically Wass) to the south-west named Byland Abbey. There is a pub in nearby Wass, the Wombwell Arms with good food.
- Berry Banks Cottage Whitby. Luxury self-catering accommodation riverside view, Whitby,cin an elevated position above the valley of the River Esk and by the side of a Grade II listed railway viaduct. Watch the steam train pass by from the cottage.
- 1 Hart Cottage, Arncliffe Terrace, Glaisdale, ☎ . A cosy little cottage in the middle of the North Yorkshire moors. A few doors from the Arncliffe Arms pub and Glaisdale railway station
- 2 Holm Cottage, Holme Cottage, Postgate Way, Ugthorpe, Whitby, North Yorkshire (Located next door to The Black Bull pub in the centre of the village), ☎ . A delightful little cottage right next to the Black Bull Pub, famed for its straightforward British cuisine. The cottage is in the middle of Ugthorpe, a working farming village, a world away from the tourist traps of Goathland and Whitby.
There is little crime in the Moors except for petty theft from cars so leave valuables hidden. Take precautions against the weather if going out walking.
- York is a remarkable walled city, with many visitor attractions.
- Near Ripon is Fountains Abbey.
- Leeds is the place for big city attractions.
- Durham is a charming old city, and base for exploring County Durham.