Guide to the North York Moors National Park

The unspoilt beauty of the North York Moors National Park touches moorland, forest, dale and coastline. Identified by the purple hue of the heather in summer, the high plateau reaches from the Vale of Pickering up to Teesside.

The scenery varies from rolling farmland and pretty villages to dramatic cliffs which rise nearly 700 feet above the sea.

The moors have played host to the Ancient Britons, Romans, Saxons, Danes, Vikings and Normans. In 1143, St Aelred of Rievaulx Abbey referred to this atmospheric area as "a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world". The walks in the North York Moors National Park are eternally popular, as there are more than one thousand miles of public footpaths meandering their way through the wild moors, sprawling forests, imposing ridges and pastoral dales.

One of the nation's favourite long distance walks, the Cleveland Way, marks its 50th anniversary this year. It runs for 109 miles in a horseshoe loop across moor, dale and coast from Helmsley to Filey passing Crows Nest Caravan Park en route. To celebrate, the North York Moors National Park is hosting a series of events, walks, talks, competitions and exhibitions, including a Cleveland Way Walking Festival in May.

There is so much to see and do in the North York Moors National Park, here are a few highlights:

Sutton Bank

The view from Sutton Bank over Hood Hill Lake Gormire and Vale of Mowbray is said to be one of the finest in the country. The area is a magnet for walkers and cyclists, with a wealth of information to be found at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre. 


The bustling village of Danby lies in the Esk Valley, on the north eastern side of the moors amid excellent walking country. Danby Beacon, high on Danby Hill, offers amazing 360 degree views of moor, dale and sea.

Find maps, information and history galore at the The Moors National Park Centre which is housed in a former hunting lodge.

The White Horse

High above the village of Kilburn, or a walk along the escarpment from Sutton Bank, the famous landmark carved into the limestone be seen from as far away is York. Kilburn was also the home of Robert Thompson, furniture maker also known as The Mouseman of Kilburn.

Dalby Forest

This beautiful forest with its deep valleys and upland plateau is a wonderful natural playground with fantastic walks for all abilities, world class mountain bike trails, adventure playgrounds, dark skies plus picnic and barbecue area, café and visitor centre. Visitors can also enjoy the Go Ape experience, climbing the rope and chain trail through the tree tops and zipping back down to earth, or explore the forest on an all-terrain Segway. Heading deeper into the forest, signed pathways from the car park, near Staindale Lake will take you to the Bridestones. The large sandstone stacks, which stand along the edge of the moor, are amazing natural sculptures, shaped by wind, rain and frost erosion. They are great fun to climb, although some might defeat the novice. For many years Dalby has hosted a series of Forest Live concerts at the natural arena at Adderstone

This year's line-up sees Paul Weller take to the stage on Friday, June 28 and Jess Glynne on Saturday, June 29.


Famous as the starting point for the Lyke Wake Walk. The Cleveland Hills run northwards from here to the highest point in the moors on Urra Moor, which climbs to 1,489 feet.

Nearby Mount Grace Priory is the most complete surviving Carthusian monastery in Britain. Founded in the late 14th century, you can still see remains of all the priory buildings.


Pretty moorland village which rose to fame in the nineties as Aidensfield when Yorkshire Television filmed the drama Heartbeat on location there. There are plenty of opportunities for walks, with several waterfalls nearby. The 70ft Mallyan Spout can be reached by a footpath near Mallyan Spout Hotel. Water Ark is reached by a path leading from the car park. There is also a Rail Trail, a 3.5 mile walk along the track bed of George Stephenson's railway line between Goathland and Grosmont. You can return by steam train along the present route which was opened in 1845.

Using 3D filming tech, Trainline have created an interactive 3D model of historic Goathland station and the pride of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway fleet, the “Eric Treacy” steam locomotive. Please do have a look at it here:

The 3D model gives a taste of what to expect on a visit to this wonderful attraction in Yorkshire – walkers in the North York National Park would be remiss not to pay a visit to Goathland station!

Wheeldale Roman Road 

West of the A 169 and seven miles south of Whitby the mile-long stretch of Roman road is complete with hardcore and drainage ditches. It leads north across isolated moorland from the Roman camps at Cawthorn and probably dates to the end of 1AD.


Busy village in the Esk Valley and the northern terminus of North Yorkshire Moors Railway. There are onward direct rail links to Middlesborough and Whitby. Grosmont Station is home to the engineering world of the NYMR, where steam and diesel locomotives are maintained and restored.

Hutton le Hole

With its wandering sheep grassy banks and pretty stream, Hutton le Hole is one of the most popular villages in the National Park. The open air Ryedale Folk Museum holds a fascinating collection of rural antiquities. Nearby is Lastingham, where the ancient church St Mary's features an atmospheric Norman crypt.

Rosedale Abbey

Popular village in the heart of the North York Moors National Park. It sprang up around the Rosedale Priory, but now little remains of the Cistercian abbey dissolved by Henry VIII in the 16th century. A flourishing ironstone industry transformed Victorian Rosedale. On the moors above the village are the massive stone kilns and other relics on the line of the former mineral railway.


Moorland village with traditional stone houses and cottages. In medieval times, Cropton had a motte-and-bailey castle which commanded an excellent defensive position overlooking Rosedale and the earthworks can still be seen. Nearby Cropton Forest is less busy than Dalby with cycle and walking trails.

Cawthorn Roman Camps

Five miles north of Pickering, near Cropton. Nearly 2,000 years ago the Romans built a group of fortifications overlooking the central moorlands of the National Park. An easygoing one-mile trail to the camp offers amazing views and the opportunity to imagine what life must have been like for the legionnaires.


The hillside village of Glaisdale is on edge of the National Park in the beautiful Esk Valley. Histeri Beggar's Bridge is one of the highlights of a visit to this area.


Each spring the glorious Farndale daffodils put on one of nature's most spectacular shows along the valley of the River Dove. The Farndale Bandroom, described as the greatest small venue on Earth, hosts bands of local and national fame.

Hole of Horcum

The huge natural amphitheatre is one of the most spectacular sights in the National Park offering magnificent views of Newton Dale and beyond. Also known as The Devil's Cauldron, it is 400 feet deep and more than half a mile across. Legend has it was formed when a giant scooped up a handful soil (the Hole of Horcum) and then threw it at his wife. Missing her, it landed and formed Blakey Ridge. Well-trodden footpaths are all around the area, but for those less able there is a car park just across the road.

Clay Bank

Another stopping place for those who like scenery without the hike, the car park and picnic area at Clay Bank offers beautiful views of Roseberry Topping and the Captain Cook Monument.


The North York Moors is one of the best places in the country to see stars, because of the low light pollution levels and clear horizons. There
are three Dark Skies Discovery sites, The Moors National Park Centre, Sutton Bank National Park Centre and Dalby Observatories in Dalby Forest where it is possible to see the Milky Way with a naked eye.


Danby: The Moors National Park Centre, Lodge Lane, YO21 2NB.

Sutton Bank: National Park Centre YO7 2EH.


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