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North York Moors National Park

Hiking in North York Moors National Park

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Photo: John Horner [CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Combining vast tracts of delightful moorland, dramatic coastline, dappled woodland and deep, verdant dales, the North York Moors offer you a variety of hiking experiences. Walks in the North York Moors mix natural splendour with rich heritage and are a pleasure at any time of year.

Picture yourself amongst the ethereal ambience of the moor in winter, when the frosted ground slumbers beneath floating mists. Imagine the crisp air and the crunch underfoot of a stroll through a white winter wonderland. Come summer, rack up the miles on a sea of deep purple, as the heather moorland stretches for mile after mile under hazy skies.

Your hikes in the North York Moors canalso explore the towering cliffs, rock pools and smugglers’ haunts of the North Sea coast. Breathe in the evocative scent of salty air and seaweed as you ramble along the sandy beaches and cliff top walks of this gorgeous region.


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A rich variety of landscapes and habitats

A continuous expanse of tranquil heather moorland covers roughly a third of the national park. This important landscape is sensitive to the changing of the seasons, its character evolving throughout the year. It is also vanishingly rare across the world; the majority of this kind of moorland is found in the UK. With this in mind, walks in the North York Moors take you across precious, unique countryside.

Nature abounds on the moors. Sheep are ubiquitous and their grazing continues to shape the landscape. Grouse are abundant, as is the sight of the curve-billed curlew and the shrill cry of lapwings. One fifth of the national park is woodland, supporting many species of wildflowers and butterflies, a treat for the senses in spring and summer.

The splendour of the moors

Some of the finest hikes in the North York Moors get up high amongst its most prominent features. The Wainstones are a superb objective. These magnificent sandstone crags are situated ideally for a fabulous moorland excursion, with nearby Urra Moor the highest point in the national park at 1,490 feet (454 m).

An adventure to the top of Roseberry Topping, the iconic ‘Yorkshire Matterhorn’, with its gorgeous woodland and challenging ascent is utterly delightful. This prominent peak, rising in sharp contrast with the rolling moorland around it, gives expansive views from its small summit platform.

Smugglers, rock pools and cliffs – exploring the coast

Many of the best hiking trails in the North York Moors allow you to discover its spectacular coastline. England’s highest North Sea cliff at 656 feet (200 m) awaits your hiking boots at Boulby. Meanwhile, the historic seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough are great bases for your rambles. This is a land rich in history and legend. On your walks in the region you will discover much of its heritage, from Captain James Cook to Dracula.

The former smugglers’ haunt of Robin Hoods Bay, now an idyllic fishing village, is a wonderful place from which to explore sandy beaches, rock pools and sea cliffs. Coastal rambles from here offer splendid scenery and varied terrain. It also marks the end point of guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright’s classic 182-mile (293-km) Coast to Coast Walk from the Irish Sea at St Bees.


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