North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section

Long-distance walks

Walkers next to Lilla Cross by Mike kIplingWalkers next to Lilla Cross by Mike kIpling

When one day just won't do... it's time to rise to the challenge of a long-distance walk. Your reward? Journeys on foot that you'll never forget, through some of the most stunning landscapes in Britain.

Completing a long-distance walk in one go means a certain amount of planning and a decent level of fitness. However, you can break most of the routes down into shorter, day-walk or weekend sections.

Cleveland Way National Trail

National Trail symbolThe big one! Experience 109 miles (176km) of fantastic National Park scenery on our flagship walk, all the way from the market town of Helmsley, in the heart of the North York Moors, to the coast at Filey. This classic 9-day walk crosses stunning areas of heather moorland and provides spectacular views of the North Yorkshire coastline.

The Cleveland way website contains all the information you need, including a useful accommodation guide.

Try a Cleveland Way taster:

Cloughton and Hayburn Wyke
Ravenscar to Robin Hood's Bay
Staithes and Port Mulgrave

Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail

National Trail symbolThe Yorkshire Wolds Way skirts the edge of the North York Moors – 79 miles (127km) of unbroken peace and quiet through one of Britain's most charming landscapes, from the banks of the Humber estuary and along the tops of rolling hills to Filey.

The Yorkshire Wolds Way website is full of useful information about the 7-day trail, including downloadable day walks and easy access walks along the trail.

Esk Valley Walk

Esk Valley Walk LogoA mid-distance 'Regional Route', designed for a long weekend or short walking holiday, the 37-mile (60km) Esk Valley Walk explores this beautiful stretch of the National Park. It traces the source of the River Esk, high on the moors, and then follows the whole valley from Castleton to the coast at Whitby.

Tabular Hills Walk

Tabular Hills WalsThis 48-mile (77km) 'Regional Route' takes you from the coast at Scarborough and along the Tabular Hills to the delightful market town of Helmsley. On its own, it takes four days to complete – but combine it with the Cleveland Way National Trail and you'll have walked around the entire perimeter of the National Park in around 2 weeks!

Closure of Appleton Mill Bridge between Appleton le Moors and Cropton

This bridge has a weak deck so is from 10th January 2017 closed to horses, but until repairs begin, remains open for walkers and cyclists. A replacement deck is to be installed during which time the bridge will be closed to all users. An alternative route is available via Lower Askew, 2km up-stream, as shown on the map. Works  are expected to start on 20th February and last for 6 weeks. Link to advance notice and map attached.

The Inn Way to the North York Moors

Starting and finishing in Helmsley, the Inn Way promises 89 miles of National Park walking in 6 days – and, more crucially, 31 pubs along the way! The route passes through classic moor and dale countryside, including Rosedale and the Esk Valley.

Read about the route and buy the guide from the Inn Way website.

Lyke Wake Walk

Lyke Wake Walk LogoThe most famous – some would say notorious – challenge walk across the North York Moors is the Lyke Wake Walk, a 40-mile route from west (Osmotherley) to east (Ravenscar). You are invited to walk it in under 24 hours, and thousands have completed the challenge since the 1950s.

The name? An old dialect song tells of a 'wake (ie, a watching over) for a 'lyke' (a corpse) – an apt thought for such an arduous route – and the walk emblem is a coffin.

It's essential to be properly prepared and supported if you intend to attempt the walk. There's plenty of useful information on the website of the New Lyke Wake Club.

Other walks and trails

Lake District walker extraordinaire Alfred Wainwright first published his Coast to Coast Walk in 1973, and it's grown to become one of the best-loved long-distance trails in the world. It enters the North York Moors National Park in its latter stages, at Ingleby Cross, and finishes in Robin Hood's Bay. Custom dictates that the journey isn't over until you've dipped your feet in the North Sea!

The White Rose Way is a long-distance trail that runs for 104 miles from Leeds city centre to Scarborough's South Bay, passing through the Howardian Hills and via Malton, Thornton le Dale and Dalby Forest.

Another route starting in Helmsley is the 70-mile Ebor Way through the Howardian Hills and Vale of York to Ilkley in Wharfedale (thus connecting the North York Moors to the Yorkshire Dales).

St Hilda's Way runs for 43 miles in a loop from Hinderwell, near Staithes, to Whitby Abbey, designed as a pilgrimage to celebrate the life of St Hilda, who was the first abbess of Whitby. A special guide is available from Dales Court Press.