Raisdale Mill Cottages

           in the North York Moors

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Distinctive features of the North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors takes its name from the spectacular moorland plateau at its heart the largest area of uninterrupted heather moorland in England, internationally recognised for its important habitats and the moorland bird population it supports. But there is much more to the Moors. In fact, it's the sheer variety of beautiful and unspoilt landscapes in the North York Moors that makes it stand apart from other National Parks:

      A dramatic and partially forested western and northwestern scarp slope rises to an extensive plateau that tilts south eastwards and is dissected by distinctive dales, some narrow and wooded, some deep and broad.

      Majestic coastal cliffs, sheltered harbours and bays, distinctive coastal headlands, traditional fishing villages and sandy beaches. The coastline from Saltburn to the north of Scarborough is designated as a Heritage Coast.

      The pattern of field boundaries - a combination of stone walls and hedges in the dales, while the higher moorland areas are largely unfenced - sheep roam at will and big skies open up with breathtaking panoramas.

      An abundance of forest and woodland that's rich in wildlife. The south-west hosts a nationally important concentration of ancient woodland sites and veteran trees, including the most important area of oak trees in the north of England.

      Special landforms from the Ice Age - this is a place of exceptional coastal geology and rich fossil resources.

      History abounds - and settlements reflect their agricultural, fishing or mining past. There's a wealth of archaeology from prehistory to the 20th Century. Crafted by generations, the hedges and woods, trods and walls, farms and houses, castles, abbeys and early industrial sites all have a story to tell. The moors are rich in rock art, bronze-age barrows, cairns, forts and historic tracks. There's also the largest iron-age hill fort in northern England at Roulston Scar and around 1,500 boundary stones and moorland crosses, many of them thousands of years old, plus the remains of important early industrial sites, including ironstone mining and a railway heritage.

      Religion has played a strong role - ancient churches and the ruins of great abbeys, including the 12th-century Rievaulx Abbey, add to the sense of history.

      You'll also notice locally distinctive buildings and building materials - rubble limestone or dressed sandstone with red pantile roofs, unusual in upland areas, or slate roofs.

      Remoteness and tranquillity is also part and parcel of the Park - it's a place for spiritual refreshment, dark skies at night and clear unpolluted air.

      It has the highest density of breeding curlew and lapwing on open moorland in the UK and internationally important populations of breeding merlin and golden plover.

      A vibrant network of rivers and upland streams are home to a captivating range of wildlife including otters, kingfishers and water voles.

      Distinctive skills, dialects, songs and customs are all here - there's a strong sense of community and friendly people.

      It's an inspiring place - down the years the Park has inspired artists, scientists, writers and explorers like Captain Cook.

There's a wealth of information about the North York Moors on www.northyorkmoors.org.uk which we'd like to encourage visitors to use. The walking and cycling pages are currently being developed and will include lots of ideas of walking routes and cycle rides to download. You'll also find details of our events, exhibitions and guided walks, as well as more background about the National Park's special habitats and wildlife.

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You know you're in the North York Moors when you see...

Don't leave until you've....

Spirituality and Tranquility

Market Towns and Villages

Forests and Woods

Sutton Bank and the escarpment

Heritage coast and fishing villages

Hidden Valleys

Howardian Hills AoNB

The Cleveland Hills


Amazing buildings

Arts and crafts

Nature and outdoors