Best walks in North Yorkshire

Hike over rugged hills in the North York Moors and beside wild tarns among the Yorkshire Dales with our favourite North Yorkshire hikes

Malham tarn is a natural lake on high ground in the Yorkshire Dales.

North Yorkshire is the largest county in England and contains the majority of the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales national parks – which account for 40% of the land surface area.

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Explore this vast landscape – from is upland moors and rocky tors to its deep gorges and spectacular forests – on foot with some of our favourite walks.

1

Forge Valley Woods, North Yorkshire

The woodland supports a wide variety of bird species, including, blackcaps, treecreepers, nuthatches and kingfishers
The woodland supports a wide variety of bird species, including, blackcaps, treecreepers, nuthatches and kingfishers ©Getty

The beautiful nautre reserve on the banks of the River Derwent in the North York Moor National Park was once home to iron smelting. Today it’s a peaceful spot – go quietly and you may see an otter. Map and route.

2

Sutton Bank, North Yorkshire

United Kingdom, England, North Yorkshire, Sutton Bank. A signpost on the Cleveland Way.
A signpost on the Cleveland Way, Sutton Bank ©Getty
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Discover dramatic views, a white horse, a hidden lake and deep woodland on the edge of the North York Moors National Park. Map and route.

3

Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire

Rievaulx Abbey North Yorkshire
Gothic architecture of Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire ©Getty

Walk from the market town of Helmsley in the North York Moors National Park to one of the most important monastic centres in Britain. Map and route.

4

Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire

Roseberry Topping
Rosebery Topping ©Getty

Quilted with banks of bluebells, sorrel and stitchwort, Yorkshire’s Matterhorn in the North York Moors National Park is a spring masterpiece. Map and route.

5

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

The tide ebbs at Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park to reveal a series of wave-cut platforms
The tide ebbs at Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park to reveal a series of wave-cut platforms ©Alamy

Steep stairwells, pitched roofs, an intriguing past and windy clifftop walks make this village in the North York Moors National Park the perfect rural getaway. Map and route.

6

Osmotherley, North Yorkshire

Osmotherley, North Yorkshire
Osmotherley, North Yorkshire ©Getty

Stride out on the Lyke Wake walk as it follows the ancient journey of the dead across the North York Moors National Park, starting and finishing in the village of Osmotherley. Map and route.

7

Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire

Malham tarn is a natural lake on high ground in the Yorkshire Dales.
Malham tarn is a natural lake on high ground in the Yorkshire Dales ©Getty

This short and easy walk around the wildlife-rich waters of Malham Tarn and beneath the cliffs of Great Close Scar is a Yorkshire Dales classic. Map and route.

8

Upper Wharfedale, North Yorkshire

Upper Wharfedale is a charming little valley off the beaten track
Upper Wharfedale is a charming little valley off the beaten track ©Alamy

Head to the Yorkshire Dales in search of three of the national park’s finest attributes: limestone uplands, enchanting valleys and picturesque waterfalls. Map and route.

9

River Wharfe and Bolton Priory, North Yorkshire

Botlon Priory North Yorkshire
Bolton Priory, North Yorkshire ©Getty

Stroll along the sylvan banks of a Yorkshire river on this moderate six-mile walk. Enjoy sights ranging from the dramatic ruins of a 12th-century priory to the grandiose arch of an old stone bridge. Map and route.

10

Parcevall Hall Gardens, North Yorkshire

Parcevall Hall Gardens
Parcevall Hall Gardens ©Alamy

The bountiful terraces, countryside views and mossy woodlands of Parcevall’s hillside gardens rejoice in the summer months with vibrant colours, floral fragrances and stirring birdsong. Map and route.

11

How Stean Gorge, North Yorkshire

How Stean Gorge
How Stean Gorge is a limestone gorge close to Stean, a small village in Nidderdale ©Getty

This limestone gorge is a green oasis for marsh marigolds and lime-loving plants. Ancient ferns, cuckoopints and horsetails will give you a sense of having entered a lost world. Your soundtrack will be the thunderous gushing of the River Nidd as it forces its way through this thin canyon, a fascinating insight into the effects of water erosion on limestone. Try your hand at rock climbing, via ferrata, caving and canoeing. Be prepared to get wet. Route.

Main image ©Getty