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10 of the Greatest Walks in the North York Moors

· Joseph Sheerin · Yorkshire

Discover the wonders of Yorkshire in the moors.


The North York Moors is one of the most beautiful parts of Yorkshire, so make it the destination for your next countryside ramble.

The North York Moors cover one of the largest areas of heather moorland in the UK, so it’s a perfect part of Yorkshire to head out to on a walk. From the Cleveland Hills in the west to the North Sea coast in the East, it brings together breathtaking scenery, awe-inspiring landmarks and incredible history. So don your walking boots, dig out your map and discover the wonders within.

The Great Ayton Circular

Roseberry Topping, North York Moors

The village of Great Ayton at the very northern edge of the North York Moors is the start of a wonderful walk that brings together both history and nature. It’s a moderate 7-mile jaunt filled with incredible views and untold treasures.

The Great Ayton Circular kicks off with a stroll out of the village along Newton Road, into the nearby countryside and up to Roseberry Topping. This is an incredible vantage point where you can savour beautiful 360-degree views, before you cross Great Ayton Moor to an important historical landmark – the Captain Cook Monument is dedicated to the celebrated local explorer. Afterwards, you can enjoy a pint of local ale in the traditional surroundings of The Royal Oak.

The walk starts at Newton Road, Great Ayton, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, TS9 6DG. Check out the route.

The Osmotherley Moors Circular

Cod Beck Reservoir, Osmotherly, Northallerton

This 5.2-mile route along the eastern edge of the North York Moors is one of the best walks in Yorkshire. There are a few steep, uneven sections, so it’s not for first-timers, but it’s well worth the effort.

You leave the pretty village of Osmotherley across the gorgeous Hambleton Hills and head through the ancient Arncliffe Wood where you can drink in the stunning landscape of the Vale of Mowbray. Look out across Beacon Hill before you explore Scarth Wood Moor and take the path around the beautiful tree-lined Cod Beck Reservoir. Afterwards, make your way back to the start and enjoy the welcoming surroundings of The Three Tuns Inn where you can get home-cooked grub and great ales.

The walk starts at 9 South End, Osmotherley, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 3BN. Check out the route.

Hutton-le-Hole and Lastingham Circular

Blakey Ridge, Hutton-le-Hole

Indulge in incredible views as you journey between two idyllic North York Moors villages on this gentle 4.5-mile ramble. You’ll take on quiet fields, country lanes and moorland paths as you leave Hutton-le-Hole.

Wander through the pretty woodland before you cross the moor to reach the Mary Magdalene Well, just outside of Lastingham. Here you can also visit St Mary’s Church, which dates back as far as 1078, before you nip into The Blacksmiths Arms for a drink and a spot of lunch. You’ll go back a different way, walking along the Spaunton escarpment where you can look forward to more stunning views. Before you head off home, take a walk around the open-air Ryedale Folk Museum, which is conveniently placed next to The Crown Inn pub.

The walk starts at Hutton-le-Hole car park, Moor Lane, Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire, YO62 6UB. Check out the route.

Wainstones Walk

Cleveland Way, Clay Bank, Wainstones, Stokesley

You can get the best of both worlds on the Wainstones Walk. It’s one of the best hiking trails in Yorkshire, designed to push you to the limit on a challenging 8-mile route, but it’s also home to one of the biggest landmarks in the North York Moors.

Start in the village of Chop Gate and make your way north up to Cold Moor, where you can look out across the stunning landscape of the national park. You’ll then head east and onto the Wainstones, the largest set of sandstone crags in the North York Moors, where you’ll often see climbers trying their luck. You’ll have one of the hardest parts of the Cleveland Way to tackle before you walk back to the start across Urra Moor, as you take on the highest point of the North York Moors.

The walk starts at Chop Gate Village Hall car park, Chop Gate, North Yorkshire, TS9 7JL. Check out the route.

Newtondale Circular

Levisham Moor, Newtondale, North York Moors

If you want an easy wander through the North York Moors, the leisurely 6-mile Newtondale Circular is one of the best walks you can do. It’s perfect for families and dog-walkers alike, with easy-to-follow paths and space to run around.

Start at the picturesque Levisham Station, which looks exactly as it did back in 1912, before you take a pleasant ramble through fields and along bridleways. There’s plenty to see on the way, like Kale Pot Farm, Pickering Beck and the incredible views along the glacier-carved valley. Make your way to the ruined Skelton Tower before you stop for a picnic at Raper’s Farm Picnic Place. Then head back to the start where you can enjoy a drink and classic pub grub at The Horseshoe Inn, just by the station.

The walk starts at Levisham Station car park, 1 Railway Cottages, Levisham, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7NN. Check out the route.

Arden Great Moor Circular

Hambleton Hills

Credit: deargdoom57 licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Make a beeline for Arden Great Moor to try one of the best pub walks in Yorkshire. It’s a serene 8.6-mile wander through the southwest corner of the North York Moors, in the heart of the Hambleton Hills.

You’ll start at The Inn in Hawnby and head up to the open moorland to gaze out across Hawnby Hill and Easterside Hill. Cross onto the Cleveland Way and gaze over the Vale of Mowbray and the Wensleydale hills where heath blossoms cover the moor. Go back to the start along Harker Yates Ridge, past Thorodale Wood and Arden Hall until you reach Hawnby where you can enter the Hawnby Tearoom for a cuppa and bite to eat.

The walk starts at Arden Hall, Hawnby, York, North Yorkshire, YO62 5LS. Check out the route.

Maw Wyke Walk

Sandsend, Whitby

The North York Moors isn’t all rolling hills – its eastern edge doubles as the North Yorkshire coast, and one of the best walks to be found here is the Maw Wyke Walk. It’s only six miles, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.

You’ll start at one of the region’s most beautiful beaches at Robin Hood’s Bay which is blessed with breathtaking views out across the North Sea. Head south and make your way past Ness Point, where jagged rocks on clifftop paths make the tracks precarious. The crisp sea air will make it worthwhile, as you head back to the start on the Cinder Track, a former railway line, where seabirds fly above your head.

The walk starts at Robin Hood’s Bay Station car park, Station Road, Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire, YO22 4RE. Check out the route.

Farndale Daffodil Walk

Farndale Daffodil Walk

Credit: Deargdoom57 licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

One of the best walks in the North York Moors is the Farndale Daffodil Walk. You can do it any time of year, but it comes alive in spring when the rolling moors, scenic meadows and banks of the River Dove are covered in bright yellow daffodils. It’s an easygoing 3.5-mile route.

Start in the charming hamlet of Low Mill and take the well-maintained riverside paths all the way to Church Houses, where you can stop for refreshments in The Feversham Arms, which is back open again. Head back through local farm fields where you can soak up the picture-perfect views across the golden valley before you reach Low Mill once again.

The walk starts at Low Mill, North York Moors National Park, York, North Yorkshire, YO62 7UY. Check out the route.

The May Beck and Falling Foss Circular

May Beck, Falling Foss

This jaunt around May Beck and Falling Foss is one of the best short, circular walks in Yorkshire. It’s only 2-miles long, but it will take you through a chunk of beautiful North York Moors woodland where you’ll find a pair of incredible landmarks.

Start your trip at the May Beck car park before you enter the nearby woods on your way up to Midge Hall. Next, you’ll reach the charming Falling Foss Tea Garden, where you can enjoy a mid-walk brew and a slice of cake. There’s a stunning 30-foot waterfall tucked behind the cafe that has to be seen to be believed. When you’re ready, you can head back through the woods along the pretty May Beck waterway on your way back to the start.

The walk starts at May Beck car park, Sneaton, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 5JE. Check out the route.

Lyke Wake Walk

Cod Beck Reservoir, Osmotherley

Up for one of the most challenging walks in Yorkshire? Take on the Lyke Wake Walk. It’s an extremely difficult 40-mile route across the North York Moors, but don’t worry – you can split it into manageable sections, and you should, because it would take 20 hours to do it in one go.

You’ll start in Osmotherley and head straight into a world of steep climbs and peat bog fields, but it’s not all tough-going. The views are your reward, as you look out across incredible moorland scenery. You’ll see host of iconic landmarks along the way, from Cod Beck Reservoir to the Bronze Age Wainstones and the North York Moors Railway.

The walk starts at Cod Beck Reservoir car park, Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, DL6 3AL. Check out the route.

Cover image Credit: Ebor Images licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.