Green Travel Guide to the
North York Moors National Park
Words by Paul Bloomfield.
Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards.
Foreword by Andy Wilson, Chief Executive, North York Moors National Park Authority
A dazzling array of treasures make up the North York Moors National Park: ancient woodlands, secluded dales, a fabulous 26-mile Jurassic-age coastline, and neat, stone-built villages set under sweeping moorland alive with the call of curlews. It seems like nature dealt us a great hand, but there’s a secret behind our inspirational scenery, and it’s that for 10,000 years humans have shaped the land you see today.
The vast swathes of high moorland were once covered in trees – Bronze and Iron Age settlers cleared the forests, built earthworks and raised burial mounds. Even now, the iconic heather – a magnificent purple blaze in late summer – is managed so that red grouse thrive. Medieval monks farmed the land and erected soaring abbeys to the glory of God. During the Victorian age, the dales rang to the sound of ironstone- and jet-mining, while alum was extracted from the coastal shale.
Come and walk or cycle along wooded riversides; explore the greatest concentration of ancient trees in northern England; picnic among abbey ruins; hunt for fossils in old smugglers’ coves; scan our dark skies and marvel at the bright stars. At every point you’re experiencing the true wonder of the North York Moors – a place where peace, solitude and beauty rub shoulders with a rich history and a warm welcome. Many of our local businesses recognise these special qualities, and offer a wide range of high-quality, low-impact, sustainable experiences. Together with Greentraveller, we hope you find your own favourite part of the National Park.
What our writers discovered in Exmoor National Park
The North York Moors National Park is proudly, almost defiantly local. Not in an insular, unwelcoming way – quite the opposite: its people welcome visitors to discover what makes this expanse of beautiful heather moorland, coast and forest so special, an attitude that makes the region a joy to explore. The B&Bs, hotels, pubs and restaurants here dish up true Yorkshire style and hospitality: fish fresh from the boats at Whitby, rare-breed bacon or lamb from the farm at the end of the road, and bread straight from their own oven. Stunning landscapes, as well as museums and historic sites, means there’s a wealth of ways to spend your days in this beautiful region.
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our pick of places across the glorious North York Moors National Park
Written by Paul Blooomfield
Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat; Yellow = Attractions; Purple = Activities
Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map
Fifty thousand hectares of moorland cover about one third of the National Park, and as there’s less moorland in the world than tropical rainforest
There are 1,408 miles of public rights of way and the 150-mile Moor to Sea cycle route criss-crosses the National Park on quiet roads, forest tracks and bridleways
The National Park’s 26-mile coastline is a Heritage Coast, and the Cleveland Way National Trail (from Helmsley to Filey) runs along its entire length
There are around 1,500 boundary stones and crosses, including Lilla Cross, one of the oldest Christian monuments in England
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the UK’s busiest heritage railway, winds its way
through the heart of the National Park
With more than ten monastic sites, including the impressive Rievaulx Abbey ruins, and two Dark Sky Discovery Sites at Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest, it's a place for spiritual refreshment and star gazing