The North Yorkshire Moors allow visitors to traverse timeless moorland, gaze in awe at the historic wonder of century-old abbeys and explore winding pathways in quaint, picture-perfect villages. The best way to explore the vastest area of moorland in the United Kingdom is to take a walk or cycle up its hills and discover the views.
Three of the Best Walks
For some of the finest natural scenery the UK has to offer, a series of designated walks cover all the must-see areas of the North York Moors National Park.
One of the shorter trails is the classic White Horse Walk from Sutton Bank National Park Centre. The route takes you to the famous turf-cut hillside landmark, the Kilburn White Horse. Once you cross the busy main road, the route out and back along the escarpment edge follows a hard, compacted, level path. This 3-mile route follows the edge of the hill for magnificent views, then drops down on woodland paths beneath the cliffs before climbing back up beside the horse itself.
The Levisham Moor and the Hole of Horcum is a classic walk with grand landscapes and some majestic views of the North York Moors. The route is about average length at 5-miles, starting with the view from Saltergate over the Hole of Horcum and follows a prominent path over Levisham Moor, the largest ancient monument in the moors. There’s a possible diversion to a third landmark, the archeological ruins of Skelton Tower, then the route goes down into the rocky ravine of Dundale Griff and returns along the valley to the Hole of Horcum, climbing back out at Saltergate.
For a more challenging walk, Wainstones Walk is the longest route and encounters rocky parts. It has arguably the most delightful views in the whole National Park due to the incredible height. It goes over Cold Moor to the partially eroded sandstone rock crags known as the Wainstones.
Take in the hilly views – you will be at one with nature, or at least one of a few, as you watch rock-climbers tackle the crags and fellow walkers ambling across the rocks. Other difficult walks such include Cleveland Way National Trail and Urra Moor – which takes in the highest point in the region.
Where to Find Cycle Routes
Trace your own cycle routes on the ‘Moor to Sea Cycle Network‘. This track connects Scarborough, Whitby, Dalby Forest, Pickering and Great Ayton, forming a marvellous route made of moorland, forest and coastal loops. Comprised of about 150 miles, it leads through the very heart of the North York Moors National Park, letting the traveller to enjoy the quiet roads, woodland tracks and bridleways, as well as visit the former Scarborough to Whitby railway.
There are three ‘cycle centres’ from which to cycle from based on age and experience, such as Sutton Bank for families and those new to mountain biking. Dalby Forest on the southern slopes is suitable for families right through to more experienced mountain bikers and the Great Fryup Dale is for more seasoned mountain bikers and road cyclists.