5 mins

7 of the best walks in North York Moors National Park

North York Moors National Park offers a Jurassic coastline, haunting moorland, wooded river valleys, and ruined castles. These seven walks take in the best of the park’s thrilling landscape...

Staithes Port, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

1. Along the Cleveland Way from Lord Stones Country Park

Lord Stones Country Park, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Lord Stones Country Park, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

At just under three miles, this skyline walk takes the rambler across a heart-soaring stretch of the Cleveland Way. Here, the moors drop away to the Cleveland Plain, with views to Middlesbrough and Roseberry Topping. Come in August, if you can, when the heather spreads purple-blue across the moorland.

The walk starts at Lord Stones Country Park. Fuel up at the café and take time to visit the not-so-ancient stone circle - erected in 2013. Follow the Cleveland Way east before taking a signposted left to descend through the forest. Continue straight ahead at a crossroads of paths, following the pathway around Cringle Moor.

Take a sharp right before a stream to climb a steep bank, now back on the Cleveland Way, heading west between Kirby Bank and Cringle Moor. Descend the path back to Lord Stones Country Park.

2. Robin Hood’s Bay to Boggle Hole

Robin Hood's Bay, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Robin Hood's Bay, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Robin Hood’s Bay, with its maze of alleyways and cobbled streets, dates back to the 16th century. It’s one of the most romantic locations on the Yorkshire coast, and was once a favourite haunt of smugglers. White-washed and stone cottages, topped with red roofs, tumble down to the harbour. 

Around a mile-and-a-half in distance, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to walk to Boggle Hole along the beach and back to Robin Hood’s Bay via the clifftop path. But be warned, there is much to distract you along the way: rock pools, fossils, coastal erratics, and superb views of the sea.

Before starting out, check the timetable and make sure you head off along the beach at low tide. On reaching Boggle Hole, rest up at the Quarterdeck Café & Bar (YHA) before tackling the 112 steps to the clifftop. From here, it’s an easy stroll on the Cleveland Way National Trail along the top back to Robin Hood’s Bay.

3. Hermitage and waterfall walk from Littlebeck

Falling Foss, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Falling Foss, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Littlebeck to Falling Foss walk is a beguiling three-mile ramble through a secluded river valley. Expect ancient woodland, a mysterious hermitage built into a large boulder and a plunging waterfall - there’s even an enticing tea garden near Falling Foss, where you can soak up the peace of the surrounding forest.

From the small car park on Little Beck Bank in the mill hamlet of Littlebeck (west of Whitby), head downhill to where a fingerpost points the way through a gate into the wooded river valley (between two bends in the road). After a while, the path rises to a huge boulder, replete with carved-out doorway and seats.

Above the doorway, the year 1700 is scored into the stone, along with the words ‘The Hermitage’ and the initials G.C.  Here the path splits. Take the lower path and follow the river until you come to the handsome stone building of Midge Hall, where Falling Foss Tea Garden offers food and drinks. It’s a delightful spot in the woods to have a rest.

From Midge Hall, turn left out of the gate to reach Falling Foss, the 67ft waterfall plunging down a wall of moss and fern to the water. From here, return via the higher path to the hermitage and retrace your steps back to Littlebeck.

4. Staithes to Port Mulgrave

The fishing village of Staithes, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

The fishing village of Staithes, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

It may not be as famous as Robin Hood’s Bay to the south, but Staithes is equally charming, with its cobbled pathways and harbourside cottages. The Cod and Lobster pub on the harbourfront is a good choice for a seafood lunch at the beginning or end of your walk.

This four-mile ramble follows the coast, before turning inland at Port Mulgrave to follow meadows and sheltered woodlands back to Staithes.

From the car park, follow Staithes Lane down to the waterfront to pick up the England Coast Path west and south. Emerge from the coastal path at Port Mulgrave and head up Rosedale Road, turning right at the end of a row of terraces onto a stony track.

After the last building, turn left to cross fields to Hinderwell Lane. Cross over the road into Well Banks and follow its woodland pathways northwest to a footbridge. Cross the bridge over Mounter Beck and continue northwest, the brook on your left, to Dalehouse.

Follow Roxby Lane up to The Fox & Hound - another good watering hole - to Dalehouse Bank, where the lane meets the main road. Turn right, then left into Staithes Lane and back to your starting point.

5. Hutton-le-Hole to Lastingham

Enjoy the walk from Hutton-le-Hole to Lastingham, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Enjoy the walk from Hutton-le-Hole to Lastingham, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Tucked into a hollow of the Yorkshire uplands, aptly-named Hutton-le-Hole is surely one of England’s most picturesque settlements. Surrounded by an expanse of village greens (nibbled short by the resident sheep), Hutton Beck cuts through the commons, criss-crossed with white picket fences, footbridges and pathways.

This walk takes in fields, woodland, country lanes, moorland track, and pretty Yorkshire settlements. Be sure to visit the Ryedale Folk Museum, enjoy a cuppa in Merrills or a pint in The Crown - with its very own mini-green of picnic benches.

From the car park, head south through the village. After St Chad’s Church, go through the gate on the left signed ‘Public Footpath’. Follow the grassy path through a field, then enter woods, crossing a bridge to continue along the woodland path. Turn right onto Moor Lane and continue along the road to Mary Magdalene Well.

Take the footpath on the left and follow the moorland track. At the crossroads of the paths, turn right into Lastingham. Take time to visit the atmospheric St Mary’s Church, then return to High Street to continue south into Hagg Wood. Follow the road into Spaunton, then skirt around Grange Farm to cross over fields. Drop down into a gully and follow the stream back to Hutton-le-Hole.

6. Helmsley Castle to Rievaulx Abbey

Helmsley Castle, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Helmsley Castle, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

The Cistercian monks had the ability to seek out places of peaceful solitude in glorious surroundings. Rievaulx Abbey is no exception. Sitting in an isolated basin by the River Rye, Rievaulx is a superb finish to a tranquil woodland and country lane walk of six miles.

Starting from Helmsley, take time to explore the medieval castle ruins of the English Heritage site. From the castle follow the well-signed Cleveland Way west along the edge of Blackdale Howl Wood and Whinny Bank Wood before heading into Quarry Bank Wood. The path emerges at Ingdale Howl Road. Turn left to follow the country lane to Rievaulx Bridge, then right.

Turn right to follow another lane alongside the River Wye to Rievaulx Abbey. Make sure you factor in time to explore the ruins of the abbey, with its great arched windows and crumbling walls, then refuel at the cafe. Retrace your steps to the attractive market town of Helmsley, with its individual shops and welcoming cafés.

7. Sutton Bank to Kilburn White Horse

Sutton Bank, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

Sutton Bank, North York Moors National Park (Shutterstock)

This is a superb three-mile walk along the escarpment from Sutton Bank to the White Horse, with sweeping views of the Yorkshire countryside. The Kilburn White Horse is an impressive landmark - 314ft long and 228ft high - and carved out of limestone on the hillside.

Start from Sutton Bank National Park Centre and follow the Sutton Bank Mini Moor Trail to the car park by the main road. Cross over it, following the signpost marked ‘Cleveland Way, White Horse, 1m’. Turn left and follow along the top of the edge, then take the path that leads down through the escarpment.

Bear left at the bottom to skirt the base of the drop through woodland. Climb up to the White Horse Car Park, then the steps at the side of the White Horse to the top of the escarpment. Head back along the Cleveland way at the top of the edge to Sutton Bank.

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