The North York Moors
The North York Moors lie in the northern part of England's Yorkshire and the Humber region. Recognised for its purple and brown heathland and limestone countryside carved by glaciers, the North York Moors National Park combines open moorland with dramatic coastlines, as well as activities and attractions to interest any group of visitors. The park covers an area of 554 square miles and is home to more than 25,000 people.
Countryside marked by dry stone walls carving out agricultural lands and remnants of 19th-century industries provides the backdrop for exploring the North York Moors. Stretching from Saltburn in the north to Pickering in the south and from Osmotherly in the west to the eastern coastline, the National Park contains fascinating geology, culture and history. The moors are cut by rivers and bounded by the Hambleton Hills to the west and Cleveland Hills in the north.
The history of the Yorkshire area dates back to the Middle Ages. Heritage sites around the park include abbeys and priories found at Ampleforth, Gisborough, Rievaulx, and Rosedale.
Castles built by the Normans and found in the regions include Ayton Castle, Danby Castle (now a working farm), Helmsley Castle, and Scarborough Castle. More modern history is celebrated in the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, the Ironstone Mining Museum and Robin Hood's Bay Museum of Local History.
More than 1,400 miles of paths can be explored on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. The most scenic areas are near the western escarpment and coastal cliffs; popular long walks are the Coast-to-Coast, the Lyke Wake Walk and the Cleveland Way. Alternatively, the Moorbus network can drop off and pick up visitors at various locations around the region. Other activities in the region include golfing, water sports, salmon and sea trout fishing on the River Esk, birdwatching and rock climbing. Families may also enjoy a day out at Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo. Steep cliffs make the area well suited for gliding. The North Yorkshire Moors steam railway runs from Pickering to Grosmont, and the heritage railway carries more passengers on its 18-mile journey than any other of its kind in the UK.
The National Park is an hour's drive from the city of York in the south and nearly 2 hours away from Newcastle in the north. Major towns within the park worth a visit include Helmsley, Pickering, Guisborough and the seaside resort of Whitby. Other picturesque villages along the coast like Robin Hood's Bay provide dramatic scenes and insight into the history of the region.
National Park visitor centres are good places to start a visit to the region and book accommodation at one of many options in the park. The Moors National Park Centre and Sutton Bank National Park Centre provide information within the park, while Tourist Information Centres can be found in Guisborough, Great Ayton and Middlebrough.