North York Moors

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North York Moors

Encompassing over 1400 miles of natural beauty, the beguiling North York Moors are home to heather moorland, pine forests, rolling hills and a shimmering coastline.

Waiting to be explored are ancient abbeys and crumbling castles, secluded villages and cosy, traditional pubs. Closer inspection reveals badgers, roe deer, hawks, red grouse and short-eared owls.

Winding its way through the undergrowth will be the Adder (Britain's only poisonous snake) looking for a tasty meal of mice, voles and lizards.

Hiking in the Moors

Cycling and horse-riding are popular activities. A circular, long-distance bridle route created around the circumference of North York Moors can be accessed at a number of locations. If nags aren't your thing, hiking opportunities present themselves in abundance.

The park has a network of rights-of-way covering almost 1,400 miles (2,300 km) in length. Prominent walks include the 40 miles long Lyke Wake Walk, which passes directly across the heart of the moors. Whilst The Cleveland Way is a more strenuous undertaking, incorporating a coastal section and totalling 109 miles in length. This hike guarantees to be the life and soul of any blister party.

Photographing the North York Moors

From low dale to high moor, shady forest to dramatic coastline, the North York Moors is a photographers paradise.

Popular locations such as Roseberry Topping, Grosmont Railway Station and Rievaulx Abbey are worthy visits. Add to this the coastal towns of Staithes, Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay all joining up in a land of legends and endless horizons. Be sure to carry a can of WD40 for that trigger finger.

Completely Useless Facts about the North York Moors

  • 12,000 archaeological sites and features are scattered across the Moors. Of these 700 are scheduled ancient monuments.
  • Home to the largest concentration of ancient and veteran trees in northern England, approximately 22 per cent of the North York Moors National Park is under woodland cover. Equivalent to more than 116 square miles (300 km) of trees.
  • The coastal town of Whitby was the inspiration for Bram Stokers Dracula.  It's also the venue for the bi-annual goth weekend festival which takes place in the town. The primary objective for the gathering is to provide a place for the lost and lonely to find friendship, camaraderie and a place to 'be'.

Origins of the North York Moors

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Around 8,000 BCE Britain was still part of the European landmass when communities of Middle Stone Age people migrated to England and began to inhabit the region. Relics of this early hunting, gathering and fishing community have been unearthed in the region.

By the 5th century, global sea levels had risen and Britain was cut off from mainland Europe. Subsequently, early Neolithic farmers began removing the forest cover of the moors. Their settlements were concentrated in the fertile parts of the limestone bel.

A few centuries later during a 1,400 year period, people of the Bronze Age inhabited all areas of the moors and finally destroyed much of the original forest. Around 3,000 burial mounds from the Bronze Age can be found on the North York Moors.

Clues from the Iron Age reveal the remains of two promontory hillforts at Boltby Scar and Rudston Scar and a collection of circular stone hut foundations on Percy Rigg.

Latterly, during the Roman period, Malton was established as a central base. A number of roads were established radiating out from here. One of these roads was Wades Causeway, which led north-eastwards over the Vale of Pickering and across the moors to the North Sea coast.


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