Howdale Moor and Brow Moor
Choose a clear day for this 4-mile circular walk to enjoy amazing views of two very different landscapes of the National Park – sweeping heather moorland and the dramatic Ravenscar coastline looking across to Robin Hood’s Bay. If you’re lucky you’ll also catch sight of Fylingdale Moor’s wild birds of prey. The walk is on Open Access land, which means that walkers do not have to stick to footpaths or other public rights of way.
About this walk
The walk follows paths through heather and over rough tracks. Some of the paths may be overgrown and muddy at times. There are no stiles. The walk is across Open Access land, so walkers do not have to stick to footpaths or other public rights of way unless they are with a dog.
You cannot complete the full walk with a dog as they are not allowed off rights of way on Open Access land (from point 3 onwards). Dogs are welcome on the public bridleway between points 1 and 3 only but keep them on a short lead or to heel at all times (and always on a lead near livestock). Also keep them on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July when rare birds are nesting on the ground.
The wild birds of Fylingdales Moor
The vast heather moorland of Fylingdales Moor is a flourishing haven for wildlife, especially the wild birds of prey which make it their home. It's very different from most moors in the North York Moors National Park as grouse-shooting is not allowed. Instead, the Hawk and Owl Trust has been working here since 2006, using traditional techniques to help moorland birds thrive. Some heather is still burned each year to produce a patchwork of new shoots for red grouse to eat. But other stands of heather are left to grow taller, providing a more welcoming habitat for birds of prey, including the merlin (Britain's smallest falcon) and the short-eared owl.
After the Fylingdales fire
This area of moorland is flourishing today but the walk runs through the heart of an area destroyed by wildfire in 2003. The fire burned for six days and stripped away an area of peat and heather the size of 500 football pitches – underneath were long-hidden archaeological remains, including prehistoric burial mounds, reservoirs linked with the alum industry and even relics of a World War II battle training site. Restoration work since the fire has helped young heather, cotton grass and wavy hair-grass to re-colonise the area, and the new vegetation provides a protective cover to save the archaeology from the elements.
Did you know?
Ravenscar got its name in Victorian times. 'Scar' means 'cliff' or 'rocky outcrop' in Old Norse. You can see these 'scars' – hard layers of rock stretching out to sea – from the top of the moorland.
|Great for:||big-sky views, history buffs, nature nuts|
|Length:||4 miles (6.4km)|
|Start/Finish:||Car park near transmitter mast, Scarborough Road, half-mile (800m) west of Ravenscar|
|Grid Ref.:||NZ 970 012|
|OS Map:||Ordnance Survey OL27|
Like this walk?
The Hawk and Owl Trust manages the Fylingdales moorland. Visit their website to discover more about their work – and about the moorland and wildlife on this walk.