The North Yorkshire Moors is an incredible destination for those who like to walk on the wild side and embrace the great outdoors. The heather-clad moorland makes for a stunning backdrop and the rugged beauty just makes you want to keep on walking and exploring more of the Moors. This really is one of the UK‘s most breathtaking national parks. Ready for a bracing wilderness escape? Here are some of the best walks in the Yorkshire Moors.
7 Scenic Walks in the Yorkshire Moors
1. May Beck to Falling Foss
If you are looking for a magical woodland walk, this is it. This 2-mile (3.2km) looped route passes a serene woodland tea garden and the 30-foot (9-metre) Falling Foss waterfall. The return part of the journey follows the babbling May Beck. We love this walk in the autumn when the woodland colours are most resplendent. It is also a super walk in the summer as you can cool off in the shallow waters.
2. Forge Valley Woods
If you are looking for a gentle walk with easy access, then try this 2-mile (3.2km) route as it follows a fairly level, wooden boardwalk for its entire length. There are also plenty of passing places, which double up as viewing platforms and lots of seats along the way. Begin your walk at Old Man’s Mouth car park and picnic area, 1½ miles (2.4km) north of East Ayton. This enchanted woodland walk is full of colour and wildlife and wonderful aromas of wild garlic and wood anemone in Spring. In fact, the Forge Valley is a National Nature Reserve because of its abundance of wildlife.
3. Esk Valley Walk
The Esk Valley Walk follows the River Esk from its source high on the North York Moors to the coast at Whitby. This walk takes you through The Esk Valley, which has to be one of the most beautiful valleys in England. The 37-mile (60km) route takes roughly three to four days to complete. However, if you haven’t got the energy or time, you can split the route into shorter sections. The circular walk from Castleton is rather lovely.
4. Ravenscar to Robin Hoods Bay
On this walk, you’ll enjoy amazing views of two very different landscapes of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. You’ll see the sweeping heather-clad moorland as well as the wild Ravenscar coastline. Begin your ramble at the Ravenscar National Trust Coastal Centre and tramp across Howdale Moor before making your way down to the old Scarborough-to-Whitby railway line. From here, walk to the infamous smugglers’ haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay. For the return journey, follow the cliff-top walk which is part of the Cleveland Way National Trail. The sea views are simply breathtaking.
5. The Cleveland Way National Trail
Speaking of the Cleveland Way National Trail, this is also one of the most scenic walks in the Yorkshire Moors. The 109mile (175km) trek starts in the town of Helmsley, then crosses the wild moorland before reaching the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. You continue following the North Yorkshire coastline to Filey, a seaside town in North Yorkshire. Taking around 9 days to complete, you’ll experience the romantic and ever-changing landscape for which the North York Moors National Park is famed. We highly recommend planning to do this walk in late August and early September when the heather is in full bloom. It’s a spectacular sight.
6. Sutton Bank
Sutton Bank is a hill in the Hambleton District of the North York Moors National Park. On this five-hour 8.3-mile (13.4km) ramble you’ll experience magnificent views, a white horse and a hidden lake. This looped woodland walk starts at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre Visitor’s Centre and not long after you leave the car park, you’ll find what has been dubbed ‘England’s Finest View’. Before you unfold the lush vale of York and Mowbray with the brooding Pennine mountains in the background. You’ll also get a great view of the White Horse at Kilburn which is carved into the limestone hillside.
7. Rievaulx Abbey
For a hike with a helping of history, follow the route from the market town of Helmsley in the North York Moors National Park to Rievaulx Abbey. Founded in 1132, Rievaulx Abbey was the first Cistercian abbey to be established in the north of England and is one of the most important monastic centres in Britain. The 6.5-mile (10.6km) route should take you about three and a half hours to complete. On the walk, you’ll pass by ruins, woodlands and rivers before reaching the atmospheric abbey ruins. This is a very serene and scenic walk and ideal if you are looking for some peace and quiet.