What makes the North York Moors so special?
The North York Moors occupy most of the land north of York, stretching up to the southern suburbs of Middlesbrough. The A1 trunk road provides a man-made border to the west and to the east the Moors are stopped by the North Sea and North Yorkshire’s stunning coastline. Recognised as a unique and fragile environment, the central Moors were designated a National Park over fifty years ago which has helped to preserve the land from the throng of tourists and walkers who descend here every year. Often portrayed in period programmes such as Heartbeat and a frequent backdrop to the Herriot prorammes, the Moors will be recognisable to millions of people. But thankfully its not stuck in the 1950’s.
Somewhat smaller than the Yorkshire Dales, the North Yorkshire Moors still cover an area of almost 600 square miles and like the Dales you can easily find yourself miles from anywhere relatively quickly. But there is something distinctly civilised and less remote about the Moors. In place of limestone and dramatic peaks you’ll find gentle rolling hills of heather, ancient woodland and lazy rivers winding through lush hidden green valleys. There is a sense of wilderness, particularly on top of the high central moorlands, but its cast in comforting soft focus (purple focus in the case of the summer).
Adding to the genteel atmosphere are the well heeled towns and villages dotted about the Moors, where honey-coloured sandstone buildings lend warm contrast to the deep purple and green of the surrounding landscape. The little comunities are often centred around an ancient church, a proper pub (!) or village hall, and a general shop. Rosedale, Fadmore and Cropton all feature these essentials of moorland living. Agriculture is still hugely important, especially sheep, but the importance of tourism to the local economy is evident in many of these settlements. Visitors are well served by increasingly good accommodation, cosy pubs and fantastic places to eat; you might be surprised to learn that many of the UK’s top gastro pubs are hidden away here. Go and dig out the Starre at Harome, or the Horseshoe in Levisham, the White Swan in Pickering and the Hare Inn at Scawton.
Refreshingly, the pastoral traditions of these rural communities seem unaffected by the influx of tourists. You’ll still find sheep keeping the village green in trim in Hutton Le Hole and on balmy summer evening’s huddles of men in flat caps supping pints and playing quoits; a sort of English version of boules but with metal rings and pins instead of balls. Pubs brew their own beer, restaurants have their own vegetable gardens and the bakeries produce yorkshire classics such as Fat Rascals and curd tarts (the best in the UK are made in Helmsley according to one notable chef).
Where to go on your Luxury North York Moors Cottage Holiday
The sheer size of the North York Moors means it’s impossible to experience all it has to offer on a short timescale. On your luxury cottage holiday to the North York Moors we recommend focusing your attention on one or two of the regions that really appeal… read more
Luxury Cottages North York Moors
Gorgeous Cottages have several stunning cottages in the North York Moors. From family friendly converted barns with amazing leisure facilities to country-chic boltholes in picture-postcard villages, all of our luxury cottages in the North York Moors have that elusive X-Factor! Click on this link to take a look at our choice of North York Moors Luxury Cottages and find one that’s just right for you.
So now, tell us your favourite spots to visit in the Moors? Agree or disagree with the suggestions here? Let me know.