North York Moors

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Howdale Moor and Brow Moor photo Short-eared owl

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 Fylingdales 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.

Walk info

Great for:
big-sky views, history buffs, nature nuts
4 miles (6.4km)
2 hours
Car park near transmitter mast, Scarborough Road, half-mile (800m) west of Ravenscar
Grid Ref:
NZ 970 012
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL27
GPX file, MMO file

About this walk

WalkThe 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.

DogsYou 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 moorland is managed 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.