North York Moors

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Facts and figures

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Bee in the know about the North York Moors

  • The North York Moors became a National Park on 28 November 1952 and is one of 15 National Parks in the United Kingdom.
  • It covers an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres) and has 26 miles of coastline.
  • There are 1,408 miles (2,268km) of Public Rights of Way in the National Park.
  • The 109 mile (176km) Cleveland Way National Trail forms a horseshoe around the North York Moors starting in Helmsley and finishing in Filey.
  • The highest point in the North York Moors is Urra Moor at 454 metres.
  • It contains one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in England and Wales covering an area of over 44,000 hectares or around one third of the National Park.
  • The North York Moors is a European Special Protection Area for merlin and golden plover and is internationally renowned as a haven for ground nesting birds.
  • It is home to the most northerly colony of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly in Britain and the southernmost place for the dwarf cornel.
  • Woodland and forests cover about 23% of the National Park and it has one of the largest concentrations of ancient and veteran trees in northern England.
  • The river Esk which flows from the moor tops to the North Sea at Whitby, is the only river in Yorkshire and one of only seven in England that contains the fascinating freshwater pearl mussel.
  • Chimney Bank in Rosedale vies with Cumbria's Hardknott Pass for the steepest road in England with a gradient of 1 in 3.
  • There are over 700 Scheduled Monuments within the North York Moors and around 3,000 listed buildings. Almost a third of the Scheduled Monuments for the Yorkshire & Humber region can be found in the National Park.
  • There are around 1,500 boundary stones and crosses in the North York Moors including Lilla Cross, one of the oldest Christian monuments in England dating from 626 AD, which stands on Lilla Howe, a round barrow.
  • The oldest surviving Gooseberry Show in the country (established in 1800) is held at Egton Bridge in the National Park.
  • 23,380 people live within the National Park (2011 Census).
  • Around 8.03 million people visit the North York Moors every year (2018 STEAM Report).
  • Forty three percent of the North York Moors lies within the Borough of Scarborough, 38% within Ryedale, 15% within Hambleton and 4% within Redcar & Cleveland.

About the National Park Authority

The North York Moors National Park Authority is funded in the main by central Government via the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We have two main purposes:

  • to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and
  • to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public.

If there's a conflict between these two purposes, conservation takes priority. We are also required to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park.

The National Park Authority has 22 Members who guide its work. Twelve Members are appointed by local authorities and 10 are appointed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Around 106 (full time equivalent) people work for the National Park Authority based at our headquarters in Helmsley and our two National Park Centres at Danby and Sutton Bank. Of this 106, 17 are apprentices or trainees.

The National Park Authority owns less than 1% of the North York Moors with some 80% in private ownership; owned in the main by private estates and farmers who manage the land to support grouse shooting and sheep farming.

For more information

You'll find more information about why the North York Moors is such a special place in the Discover section of this website. Further information on the National Park Authority and its work can be found in the About us, Planning and Looking after pages.