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Best walks in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire’s spectacular scenery is some of England’s finest, and while the peaks and heaths may seem intimidating, it’s a relatively easy area to explore on foot. Whether your tastes run to vast moors, high peaks, wildflowers or atmospheric ruins, walking in North Yorkshire has something to delight you. North Yorkshire hikes, trails and walks exist for all abilities, so here are six of the best to satisfy your hankering for the outdoors.

The Trans Pennine Trail

Walkers of all stripes will be familiar with the Trans-Pennine Trail, which traverses coast to coast across England and comes through York, Selby and other highlights of the North Yorkshire landscape. Take the chance to wander through big towns and then lose yourself in smaller villages and hamlets; the stretch between Garforth and Woodlesford is particularly beloved for its tranquil setting, nature reserve and bird-spotting opportunities. Check the Trans Pennine Trail’s own website for details.

 

The Malham Tarn Archaeology Walk

This walk created by the National Trust is one for history buffs, and takes in thousands of years of history, from Roman Britain to long-abandoned medieval farms once managed by monks. The walk is dog-friendly and excellent for burning off excess energy, as there’s open space everywhere you look. The Tarn itself is a glacial lake and nature reserve with glorious, sweeping views over hay meadows and empty moors. Visit the National Trust for details of the walk.

Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast Walk

Photography fans will love this walk through the northern parts of England, devised by Alfred Wainwright in the 1970s. The latter part of it is one of the best walks in Yorkshire, crossing through the highly photogenic Yorkshire Dales, the Vale of Mowbray and the North York Moors. It ends at atmospheric Robin Hood’s Bay, once a hotspot for smugglers, for a symbolic paddle in the water (though don’t expect the sea temperature to be tropical). The Wainwright Society has a guide for walkers.

Explore the Yorkshire Dales

Robin Hood's Bay to Boggle Hole

Want to focus on Yorkshire’s stunning limestone coastline? Begin at Robin Hood’s Bay and traverse the clifftops or the beach itself round to Boggle Hole — but time your visit for low tide if you want to go by sand, as the Hole is inaccessible from the beach during high tides. The shore is a great chance for beach-combing or searching for fossils; this coast is famous for its ancient finds. If you’d like to go further, the clifftop coastal walk reaches to Whitby along the Cleveland Way National Trail. The North York Moors National Park website has details.

Rievaulx Terrace

North Yorkshire hikes don’t have to be exhausting. Culture fans who want a gentle wander will love the walk around the gardens of Rievaulx Terrace, an 18th century landscaped estate owned by the National Trust. It’s particularly kid-friendly, allows dogs on leads, and has trails, two striking outdoor temples, art exhibitions, fields of wildflowers and a café. That, plus the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey at your feet, makes for a remarkable day out. Check out Rievaulx Terrace’s site at the National Trust.

The James Herriot Way

Vet and writer James Herriot was one of the most famous chroniclers of the Yorkshire Dales, and a beautiful route with his name traces its way through tiny villages, rolling fells, ruined castles and extensive fields of heather. Climb Yorkshire’s third highest peak, Great Shunner Fell, and make sure you have your camera ready for sights like Aysgarth Falls. You can take the 52-mile circular route in sections, or attempt the challenge in full. The Herriot Way site has more details.

Take a coastal walk overlooking Robin Hood's Bay

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