North Yorkshire Moors Cottages

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    The North Yorkshire Moors National Park is one of the largest areas of heather moorland in the UK and covers more than 550 sq miles, stretching from the rugged cliffs on the North Sea coast to the Hambleton Hills and Cleveland Hills in the west, Gisborough Moor to the north and the edge of the moors with the Vale of Pickering in the south.

    Things to do on the North Yorkshire Moors
    The North York Moors National Park is bisected by the railway tracks of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and of the Esk Valley Line, which together spread out in three directions – towards Whitby, Pickering and Middlesbrough – from the small central station in Grosmont. Hiking, walking, horse riding and cycling are all popular leisure activities, with over 1,400 miles of paths and tracks from which to select your own particular route.

    Top Destinations

    Guisborough – A fine market town, Guisborough is also home to a ruined 12th century priory.

    Thirsk – Once home to one Alf Wight, the real-life vet behind the James Herriot books, the town also has a fine parish church which is noted for being a spectacular example of the English Gothic (Perpendicular) style of architecture.

    Whitby – At the mouth of the River Esk, with a memorial whalebone arch on the north side of the harbour, and the eerie remains of Whitby Abbey to the south side, Whitby is one of the finest examples of a Yorkshire coastal town.

    Scarborough – The high rocky headland which faces out to sea from a central coastal position in the town makes this, the largest resort on the Yorkshire coast, and former Victorian spa town, a distinctive place from which to explore the region. The 11th century ruins of Scarborough Castle lie on the promontory and separate the sea front into a North Bay and a South Bay, the latter the original mediaeval settlement and harbour.

    Goathland– The steam-operated North Yorkshire Moors Railway links the village with Pickering in the south, utilising the route of the 19th century railway that once also connected with Whitby. Although run largely by volunteers the line is highly successful, with around a quarter of a million passengers annually using this, the second-longest preserved railway line in Britain. The village was also used as a major location in the long-running TV series, ‘Heartbeat’, and has also featured in the Harry Potter films.

    Pickering – Self-proclaimed ‘gateway to the North Yorkshire Moors’, Pickering is well located at the southern tip of the Park, enabling visitors to ramble over the historic Norman ruins of Pickering Castle, or take the steam train into the heart of the moors themselves.

    Rievaulx Abbey – A former Cistercian abbey, Rievaulx was one of the first to be founded in England. Surrounded by a huge agricultural and industrial estate, run by lay brothers, it was intended to act as a focus for other similar communities throughout northern Britain; instead it was subjected to suppression during the early days of the Reformation, and by 1538 the abbey was already being developed under the new stewardship of the Dukes of Rutland. Latterly becoming a feature of the wider parkland of Dunscombe Park, the massive abbey ruins were a popular feature of the local landscape and often the artistic subject for Romantic painters throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Rosedale Abbey – A Cistercian abbey once stood on the site of what is now a pretty village, with quaint cottages overlooking the spectacular valley below. Little of the abbey now remains, with much of the original stonework being reclaimed for local buildings. As with other small settlements in the area, a flourishing iron ore mining industry existed in the valley from the 19th century until the 1920s. A long-distance path (‘The Abbey Trail’) links seven of the most historic abbeys in the area, including this one.

    Robin Hood’s Bay – To the south of the now much larger town of Whitby, this fishing village still celebrates its connections with 18th century coastal smuggling activities.

    Helmsley Castle – Another fine example of a mediaeval castle, Helmsley was original constructed from wood in the early 12th century, and later built in stone. More than six hundred years later, Sir John Vanburgh was employed to build a new stately home, to be called Duncombe Park, in the grounds of the castle and the earlier buildings were left to decay. The castle is now under the careful stewardship of English Heritage.

    Byland Abbey – Once one of the greatest monasteries in England, Byland Abbey was founded as a Savigniac abbey in the early 12th century, and was once described as being (together with the neighbouring abbeys at Fountains and Rievaulx) ‘one of the three shining lights of the north’, and one of the finest 12th century churches in Europe. It is now in the care of English Heritage and is particularly noted for its brightly-coloured mediaeval floor tiles.


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    photo of Corby Wood , Rosedale, near Pickering, Yorkshire, Rosedale Abbey
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    photo of Low Crossett Cottage , Bilsdale, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
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    photo of Bilsdale , Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe near Thirsk, Yorkshire
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    photo of Cottage 4 , 4 Old Mill Cottages, Rosedale Abbey, Nr Pickering, North Yorkshire
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