North Yorkshire Moors
North Yorkshire Moors National Park
North Yorkshire is England's biggest County and the North York Moors cover 554 square miles of it. The area was declared a National Park in 1952.
Picturesque Towns and Villages are dotted amongst the outstanding scenery that makes up the North York Moors.
Britains most popular Heritage Steam Railway, The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) runs through the Beautiful countryside from Pickering to Whitby.
Dalby Forest, which covers an area of over 8,000 acres, is also within the National Park.
The Moors are an area of outstanding natural beauty. Ranging from the rugged coastline to the hills that surround the vale of York. The distinctive landscape can best be seen on a trip between York and Whitby. As you travel towards the coast from York you climb higher and higher and you can gradually see the scenery changing from green pastures to Purple heather covered Moorland.
The North York Moors are a walkers paradise with many well known walks such as the Cleveland Way and the Lyke Wake Walk. The North York Moors are criss crossed with a network of Public rights of way. Guide books with walking trails of different lengths are available from many shops in York. If you are planning a walk please take care to read safety advice about walking in the country. Other activities available on the Moors include Horse Riding, Cycling and Mountain Biking.
Towns and Villages
There are some beautiful little towns and villages dotted around the North York Moors and one of the most famous has to be Goathland.
Goathland was the location for the filming of a long running TV series called Heartbeat. Fans of the TV show visit the village to see the recognisable landmarks and buildings that were shown on Television. Filming of this programme has now stopped, However Goathland has a steam Railway station which is also famous for being used as the set for Hogsmeade station in the very first Harry Potter film. Today it is a traditional village with sheep roaming freely around the open spaces. Popular with walkers there is also a fantastic waterfall which can be accessed via the Malyan Spout Hotel.
Helmsley is a busy market town which is also very popular with walkers and motorbikers who congregate around the town square. There is a ruined castle at Helmsley which dates back to the twelfth century. I have recently discovered that Helmsley has an open air Swimming Pool which I visited with my son during the school holidays. The facilities at the pool are not great but the water was heated and very clean and it was great to have the opportunity to swim outside - this is the closest open air pool to York.
Other villages in the area such as Kirbymoorside, Hutton Le Hole and Osmotherley are worth a look if you are travelling by car.
If you have not got a car then a great way to see some of the villages in the North York Moors is to catch the bus to Pickering and take the North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam train from Pickering to Whitby and stop off at the villages in between.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
The North Yorkshire Moors railway is Britains most popular Heritage Steam Railway. Steam trains run 18 miles from Pickering to Whitby passing through some Beautiful traditional yorkshire villages such as Levisham, Newton Dale, Goathland and Grosmont.
Pickering station is the where the steam railway begins. The station has been restored to its original 1937 condition and is a huge tourist attraction for railway enthusiasts. Special events are staged here throughout the year. From Pickering you can take the train all the way to Whitby or you can stop off along the way at one of the villages, a lot of people do this and follow circular walks or walks to the next station.
From the train windows you will see fabulous scenery as you pass through the Yorkshire countryside. Lots of passengers want to see the station at Goathland which has been used in many TV productions and was used as the set for Hogsmeade in the very first Harry Potter film.
Dalby, the Great Yorkshire Forest, has many attractions for a great day out in the country. Located within the North Yorkshire Moors national Park Dalby Forest can be reached by Car or Bus. Dalby Forest is on the A169 Pickering to Whitby road. You can drive through the forest on a nine mile trail that takes you past some stunning scenery. There are nine different car parks within the forest and plenty of space for everyone to enjoy their day out.
Things to do at Dalby include Walking, Cycling, Horseriding, Orienteering, Childrens Play areas and BBQ facilities. Go Ape is also located within Dalby Forest.
Waymarked walking trails start from several of the car parks within the forest. Guide maps are available from the visitor centre and the walks vary in length so there is something to suit all abilities. There are 55 miles of Cycle trails for all abilities, from family friendly to extreme mountain biking. Bicycles and Mountain bikes can be hired.
There are some great Childrens Play Areas and lots of space for BBQ's and Picnics.
The Visitor centre has lots of information about the forest and its management. There is also a large restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating as well as a souvenir shop