The North York Moors National Park comprises woodland, moorland, rivers and coast, rich in heritage and wildlife.
The area was designated as a national park on 28 November 1952 and covers 554 square miles. It has 26 miles of coastline and a highest point of 454 metres (Urra Moor at), along with one of the largest concentrations of ancient trees in northern England.
Discover this extraordinary landscape – including where to walk, eat, drink and sleep – with our guide to the North York Moors.
The town of Helmsley sits on the border North York Moors National Park ©Getty
Where to stay
The Mallyan Spout Hotel, Goathland
Mallyan Spout Hotel, Goathland ©Geograph
A charming three-star country-house hotel with luxury rooms. The restaurant offers a range of local produce and in winter a roaring log fire makes the bar a cosy place to retreat.
From £110. 01947 896486, mallyanspout.co.uk
North Yorkshire Moors Railway Camping Coaches, Goathland or Levisham
A railway Camping Coach at Goathland Station North Yorkshire Moors Railway ©Geograph
The steam railway offers fully equipped camping coaches at Goathland and Levisham stations with unlimited NYMR travel included.
From £730 for one week. 01751 472508, nymr.co.uk
Youth Hostel Association, Helmsley
A YHA Helmsley ©Geograph
There are five youth hostels in the national park and this purpose-built hostel is a great base for exploring the Tabular Hills.
Dorm beds from £15. 0345 371 9638, yha.org.uk/hostel/yha-helmsley
Abbey Stores and Tea Room, Rosedale Abbey
Abbey Stores shop tearoom and information centre in the village of Rosedale Abbey ©Geograph
Proper Yorkshire portions, whether it be breakfast, lunch or just a good slab of cake and a mug of Yorkshire Tea. Try the Ploughman’s Platter for a
true taste of Yorkshire.
01751 417475, abbeytearooms.business.site
The Geall Gallery and Art Café, Grosmont
Grosmont village gallery and tearooms ©Alamy
A quirky combination of art gallery and rustic tea room with a tasty selection of soup, sandwiches and bakes. Spend a while browsing the art and crafts on display before you catch your steam train.
01947 895007, chrisgeall.com
Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge, Kirkbymoorside
This isolated pub in Blakey Ridges used by hikers as a base and place for refreshment ©Geograph
At 402 metres, the Lion Inn ranks as one of England’s highest pubs. Perched high on Blakey Ridge, roaring log fires and low-beamed ceilings together with a good range of hearty meals and local ales offer all you need to escape the winter chill.
01751 417320, lionblakey.co.uk
Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole, Goathland
Step back in time to this hidden gem. The cosy snug will be popular on cold days where simple food, like pie and pickle or ‘Beck Hole’ butties, thick wedges of Yorkshire ham or cheese on plain and simple bread are served through the tiny serving hatch. Wash this down with a pint of the pub’s very own ‘Beckwatter’ beer.
01947 896245, beckhole.info/bhi.htm
Hole of Horcum
Snow over the Hole of Horcum in the midst of the North York Moors ©Alamy
9 km / 5½ miles
One of the geological wonders of the national park, the Hole of Horcum is a huge natural amphitheatre 121 metres deep and more than 800 metres across. This walk sets out from the National Park car park to head across Levisham Moor – rich in Bronze and Iron Age remains – to Dundale Griff and then drops down into the valley to return via the Hole of Horcum.
Cold Moor and The Wainstones
The first snow of the year at Hasty Bank, near Stokesley ©Alamy
12 km / 7½ miles
Join the Cleveland Way at Clay Bank Top to quickly gain the edge of Urra Moor before using old ways back down for a Bilsdale crossing. Stride out across Cold Moor before an exhilarating climb up through the Wainstones. Seek out the Needle and the Steeple, popular rock-climbing routes, followed by a high-level traverse of Hasty Bank.
Esk Valley Walk
8½ km / 5¼ miles from Egton; 11½ km / 7¼ miles from Glaisdale; 15½ km / 9¾ miles from Lealholm to Sleights.
Winter view of the Esk Valley looking east near to the village of Danby ©Alamy
Catch the Northern Rail train from Sleights to one of several stations along the Esk Valley (Lealholm, Glaisdale or Egton) and walk back to Sleights. The route shadows the River Esk – Yorkshire’s only salmon river – through this u-shaped valley and follows some ancient tracks with stone causeways.
More North York Moors walks
The North York Moors landscape comprises more than 1,400 miles of public footpaths – discover the national park’s vast moorland and sweeping coastline with our favourite walks.
Discover more walks in the North York Moors
Red deer ©Getty
Red deer can be found in the woodlands around Rievaulx Abbey and roe deer, foxes and badgers are common throughout the national park. Most exciting of all is recent camera-trap footage of a male pine marten on Forestry Commission land. This has led to the three-year Yorkshire Pine Marten Project, to help develop a conservation plan for these elusive mammals.
Red grouse, UK ©Getty
Red grouse sightings are almost guaranteed on any walk across the high moors. Short-eared owls can be found quartering the upland landscape, while barn owls will be silently hunting lower down in the dales. The mewing call of the buzzard will give their location away, so head to Wykeham Forest Raptor Viewpoint for great bird-of-prey sightings. Check out the feeders at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre for views of rare willow tits.
Main image ©Getty