The North York Moors is one of the UK’s 15 National Parks and this beautiful landscape includes pretty waterfalls, ancient woodland and the area’s famous heather-clad moorland. With a whopping 2,200 km of permissible footpaths and bridleways to explore there are endless walks to try and many of them lead to pretty villages, historic national trust sites and scenic viewpoints.
Walking options range from gentle rambles to challenging climbs so whatever your fitness level or experience there will be a North York Moors walk that’s suitable for you. Four-legged friends can join you for your outdoor exercise too and there are lots of lovely dog-friendly pubs in North Yorkshire where you can stop for refreshment along the way. Here are six of the best walks to try in the North York Moors which have been taken from walking-books.com.
Easy walks in the North York Moors
1. Pickering Castle and the North York Moors Railway – 5.5 miles
This walk starts from the North York Moors railway station in Pickering (the start or end of the line depending on which way you are going), and should take about three hours to complete. We like the fact it’s a circular walk and you can treat yourself to a drink in one of Pickering’s many cafes and pubs after completion. You’ll follow the railway line, crossing streams and woodland and there are lots of vantage points to spot passing steam trains.
It’s worth exploring the 13th century Pickering Castle and climbing up the original stone keep for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. You can even reward yourself after your walk and climb aboard one of the vintage NYMR steam trains for a wonderful jaunt through the Esk Valley to pretty villages such as Grosmont and Goathland.
Where to stay: Hayrake Cottage, Pickering
2. Littlebeck and Falling Foss – 4.5 miles
This walk should take about three hours and the start and end point (it’s circular) are an idyllic spot for a picnic. You’ll walk through a sheltered valley passing the scenic Falling Foss waterfall, as well as the pretty wooded hamlet of Littlebeck. This part of the North York Moors is close to the coast so you could always combine with a trip to Robin Hoods Bay.
As well as a tumbling 30-foot waterfall, Falling Foss is also home to a magical tea garden and there is a family-friendly trail around the woodland, a bridge that’s perfect for a game of pooh sticks and shallow waters to paddle in. It’s the perfect setting for a fun-filled outdoor adventure with the kids and one of our favourite family-friendly walks in the North York Moors.
Where to stay: Curlew Cottage, Goathland
Medium walks in the North York Moors
3. Mount Grace Priory and Scarth Wood Moor – 8 miles
This lovely walk starts at the pretty North York Moors village of Osmotherley and takes in the 14th-century Mount Grace Priory – the best-preserved Carthusian monastery in Britain. You’ll walk through the grounds and onto a woodland path that leads to the priory.
Carrying on from here, you’ll get panoramic views across the countryside on route to Scarth Moor Wood where you’ll find heather and bracken moorland slopes that are perfect for a picnic and the tranquil Cod Beck Reservoir which is a haven for local wildlife. There are 13-acres of glorious gardens to explore at Mount Grace Priory if you fancy extending your walk and you’ll find plenty of places to call in for refreshments in Osmotherley.
Where to stay: Isla Cottage, Osmotherley
4. Lastingham and Ana Cross – 8.5 miles
This walk takes in the lovely North York Moors villages – Hutton-le-Hole and Lastingham. It also takes in Ana Cross (at 12 feet high, it’s the largest in the Moors) at the top of Rosedale Bank. You’ll get fantastic views from here of Rosedale village which is right in the centre of the North York Moors. Rosedale is a popular location for walkers as five different walking routes converge from the village including through Farndale and up to the spectacularly viewpoint at Blakey Ridge.
Close to Ana Cross you’ll also find the Lastingham Millenium Stone and a seat where you can look out over the surrounding moorland as you stop and rest for a while before heading back to your starting point at Hutton-le-Hole. You can call in The Crown pub for refreshments after your walk or grab an ice cream from The Forge Tea Room to enjoy on the pretty village green.
Where to stay: Swaswara, Kirbymoorside
Challenging walks in the North York Moors
5. Roseberry Topping, Highcliff Nab and Cook’s Monument – 10.5 miles
This North York Moors walk may be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding as it takes in three of the finest view points along the way. You’ll start off at Newton-under-Rosebery (close to Great Ayton) where there is a handy pub before ascending Roseberry Topping. You’ll then head to High Cliff Nab which is a great place to stop for some lunch as you enjoy the view.
Roseberry Topping may not be the largest hill in the North York Moors but it’s definitely the most distinctive with a witches hat shape that means it is often referred to as the Yorkshire Matterhorn. This walk follows part of the Cleveland Way National Trail which runs right the way through the North York Moors from Helmsley to the Yorkshire Coast.
Finally, you’ll head to Captain Cook’s Monument – the sandstone pillar is 51 feet high – the age of Captain Cook when he died!
Where to stay: The Old Police House
6. Urra Moor, Cold Moor and The Wainstones – 7.5 miles
This exhilarating North York Moors walk crosses two moors and finishes off with a climb up to the Wainstones. You’ll start at the scenic Clay Bank, go through Chop Gate (where you can stop for a drink at The Buck Inn) and pass through Urra Moor and Cold Moor towards The Wainstones. These distinctive rocks are 1300 feet high so offer stunning views.
Urra Moor is the highest point of the North York Moors National Park and the landscape here is remote and atmospheric if you fancy getting far away from everyday life. Scrambling up the Wainstones is an exhilarating outdoor activity if you're feeling adventurous during your gorgeous Yorkshire holiday. While in this part of the North York Moors is also worth visiting Lordstones Country Park where you can seek out even more ancient stones and stock up on supplies at the on-site farm shop.
Where to stay: Partridge Cottage, Chop Gate
Plan your getaway to Yorkshire
If you have been inspired to try some of these scenic North York Moors walks, you’ll find lots of lovely Yorkshire cottages where you can rest your head after days of exploring. These six walks are just a small selection of the routes and trails available and you’ll find lots more options in this comprehensive guide to the best Yorkshire walks which includes dog-friendly hikes through Yorkshire Dales countryside and rambles along the cliff top trails of the Yorkshire coast.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.