Walking the North York Moors National Park

April 24, 2023

Walking the North York Moors National Park

A Journey Through the North York Moors: Top 5 Must-Experience Walks

The North York Moors National Park, a treasure trove of natural beauty, is an absolute haven for walkers and nature enthusiasts. With its vast expanse of heather moorland, lush green valleys, and quaint villages, this sprawling park offers an array of unforgettable walks.

So, grab your hiking boots and explore this stunning region’s breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems.

  1. The Cleveland Way National Trail (109 miles)

The Cleveland Way, one of England’s finest National Trails, is a 109-mile long-distance walk that traverses the entire breadth of the North York Moors. Starting in the picturesque market town of Helmsley, the trail takes you on a remarkable journey through lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and charming coastal villages, finally culminating in the historic seaside town of Filey.

Highlights of this trail include the iconic White Horse of Kilburn, the breathtaking Rievaulx Abbey ruins, and the enchanting Robin Hood’s Bay. Although the entire trail can take up to nine days to complete, numerous shorter sections cater to walkers of all abilities.

  1. The Hole of Horcum (5 miles)

The Hole of Horcum, often called the “Devil’s Punchbowl,” is an awe-inspiring natural amphitheatre carved out by glacial erosion. This relatively easy 5-mile circular walk starts at the Saltergate car park, just off the A169.

As you meander through the moorlands and skirt the valley’s edge, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the 400 feet deep and half a mile wide depression. You’ll also encounter the charming Levisham Beck, the perfect spot for a peaceful picnic. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including deer, birds of prey, and even the elusive adder.

  1. Roseberry Topping and Captain Cook’s Monument (7 miles)

This 7-mile circular walk is steeped in history and showcases some of the most breathtaking views in the North York Moors. Starting in the village of Great Ayton, the trail takes you up the distinctively shaped Roseberry Topping, a 1,049-foot hill that offers unrivalled views of the surrounding moorland and coastline.

After soaking in the vista, continue to Captain Cook’s Monument, a towering obelisk dedicated to the famous explorer and Great Ayton’s most famous resident. The route then loops back through the charming village, where you can treat yourself to a well-earned cup of tea and a slice of cake.

  1. Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay (7 miles)

This stunning coastal walk connects the historic town of Whitby with the picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay. The 7-mile trail follows the Cleveland Way along the dramatic cliffs, offering spectacular views of the North Sea and the rugged coastline.

Explore the atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey and learn about the town’s rich maritime history before setting off. The trail then winds along the clifftops, passing by the quaint lighthouse at Whitby Fog Signal Station before descending into the charming streets of Robin Hood’s Bay.

  1. Hutton-le-Hole and Lastingham (4.5 miles)

Perfect for families and those looking for a leisurely walk, this 4.5-mile circular route starts in the idyllic village of Hutton-le-Hole. The trail takes you through tranquil farmland, lush woodland, and the babbling Hutton Beck before reaching the historic village of Lastingham.

In Lastingham, you’ll find the beautiful St. Mary’s Church, dating back to the 11th century, with its well-preserved crypt that’s definitely worth a visit. As you continue your journey, take in the picturesque views of the moors and appreciate the tranquil atmosphere surrounding you.

After exploring Lastingham, the trail loops back to Hutton-le-Hole, where you can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the local pubs or explore the Ryedale Folk Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the region’s history and rural life.


The North York Moors National Park is a walker’s paradise, offering an incredible array of trails that cater to all abilities and interests. From the dramatic landscapes of the Cleveland Way to the breathtaking coastal walks and serene woodland strolls, there’s something for everyone in this remarkable region. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and discover the magic of the North York Moors for yourself.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual walker, these top five North York Moors National Park walks promise a memorable experience. So, don’t miss out on exploring this beautiful part of England and creating lasting memories amid its captivating scenery.