National Parks Week – North York Moors

I’ve already had a look at the Yorkshire Dales for National Parks Week so as the week draws to a close it’s time to visit Yorkshire’s other major national park, the North York Moors.

Colourful heather in summer at the Hole of Horcum North York Moors Yorkshire England

The park was established in 1952, making it a couple of years older than the Yorkshire Dales, and covers some 1434 square kilometres extending from the Hambleton Hills on the edge of the Vale of York in the west across to the Yorkshire Coast in the east.  As the name suggests, much of this area is moorland, which looks spectacular in late summer as the heather comes into bloom.  One of the most popular places for viewing the heather is the Hole of Horcum (featured image and above) a 400ft deep hollow stretching three-quarters of a mile across.  Situated just north of Pickering, it is easily viewed from the main road across the moor to Whitby.

Steam Locomotive at Grosmont Station North York Moors Railway North Yorkshire England

Another, and much more pleasant way to cross the moor to Whitby is to take one of the regular steam services on the North York Moors Railway from Pickering.

Fire Buckets at Grosmont Station Yorkshire England

A stop off at Goathland or Grosmont along the way is always worthwhile – there’s plenty more stunning scenery to explore around here – but I always seem to end up concentrating on details of fire buckets at Grosmont Station!

Roseberry Topping on a Summer Evening North York Moors Yorkshire England

To the north-west of the North York Moors lies the famous peak of Roseberry Topping (viewed above on a summer evening).  It’s a lovely climb to the top and fine views can be had of the moors and across the Vale of York to the Yorkshire Dales in the distance.

Sheep Grazing in Farndale in Winter North York Moors National Park England

Rivers running down from the Cleveland Hills have carved out a series of picturesque dales. Farndale, pictured above on a bitterly cold winter day is also well worth a visit in spring when the walk along the River Dove from Low Mill to Church Houses is flanked by wild daffodils.

Old Mine Workings at Bank Top in Rosedale North York Moors North Yorkshire England

Rosedale is another popular dale and here can be seen evidence of the North York Moors’ industrial past with the route of former railways visible and old mine workings such as those at Bank Top (above).

Byland Abbey North Yorkshire England

As well as beautiful landscape, there are many picturesque villages bordering the park such as Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes on the coast and Osmotherley, Coxwold, Kilburn (famous for the White Horse) and Helmsley to the south and west.  There’s an abundance of history too with the fabulous ruins at Helmsley Castle, Mount Grace Priory near Osmotherley, Byland Abbey (above) and Rievaulx Abbey.  With such variety on offer it’s not surprising that the park attracts 7 million visitors a year!

All images from the North York Moors collection at – the source for images of Yorkshire.



About marksunderland

Mark Sunderland is a retired landscape and travel photographer still taking the occasional photograph! For image licensing and prints see

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