North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section

Go wild

Minke Whale by Richard Baines Yorkshire Coast NatureMinke Whale by Richard Baines Yorkshire Coast Nature

The thrill of seeing whales and dolphins off the coast at Staithes, the delight that comes with noticing a star-studded sky during an evening in Dalby Forest, or the joy of finding a prehistoric fossil dating back to the ice age... These are just some of the special things you can feel when connecting with nature and experiencing the great outdoors in the National Park.

Find treasure from the past

Fossil hunting Credit Olivia BrabbsGo on a guided fossil hunting trip and you’ll find yourself transported back to the Jurassic age when dinosaurs roamed.

Let experts help you comb the rocky outcrops for fossils and dinosaur footprints while sharing stories of what life was like millions of years ago, you’ll see Yorkshire’s coastline in a whole new light.

Peter from Barefoot Fossil Walks specialises in fossil forages and shoreline safaris at Runswick Bay. With 35 years of local knowledge, in his own words, he's on first name terms with most of the limpets! Expeditions depend on the tides and weather so get in touch via his Facebook page.

To go on a fossil hunt at various locations along the North York Moors coast see Yorkshire fossil hunting trips.

A shore thing

Searching for whales Credit Daniel Wildey Photography

For ten months of the year, wildlife experts Richard Baines and Steve Race from Yorkshire Coast Nature run tours and photography workshops along the coast and inland.

Hop on a boat with them and see the diverse birdlife - from Arctic Skuas to Gannets - that reside along our shores. During the summer and early autumn, there’s also a good chance of spotting dolphins as well as Minke Whales as they follow the shoals of mackerel travelling south.

For a surreal experience, join one of their nightjar safaris, which take place just before dusk. The North York Moors forests are a summer residence for this elusive migratory bird and joining a tour is the best chance of seeing this mystical bird and hearing its curious soft churring call.

See Yorkshire Coast Nature’s calendar for full booking details.

Go starry eyed on a stargazing experience

Stargazing with Hidden Horizons at Dalby Forest (c) Steve Bell

Our pristine dark sky is pretty captivating thanks to low levels of light pollution. On a clear night it’s possible to enjoy over 2,000 stars compared with the handful that you might see in urban areas.

To make the most of this natural wonder, join one of the astronomers at Hidden Horizons between autumn and spring, look up and be prepared to say ‘wow’ as you spy the Milky Way and meteors or pick out details such as craters on the surface of the moon.

Be sure to book your star-studded experience promptly, they are very popular!

Discover the thrill of the north sea

Surfers heading out Credit Charlotte Graham PhotographyWhitby, with its blue-flagged sandy beach and rolling waves, is a haven for surfers and swimmers alike.

Whitby Surf School is run by former RNLI Lifeguard Josh Jones, safely teaching you how to catch your first wave you’ll soon become smitten with this exhilarating sport. There’s ample excitement in the bigger waves for more experienced surfers too.

Catch a wave with Whitby Surf School.

New for 2021, Sea Swim Yorkshire teamed up with the surf school to provide sea swimming sessions. Under the guidance of coach Ally Brisby who once swam the Channel, she'll introduce you to a new and exhilarating world. There's lots of physical and mental benefits of open water swimming too. Take the plunge and contact Ally directly.

Wildlife photography tours

Me & Mum Curlew Credit Gordon Richardson

Wildlife photographer Gordon Richardson has spent years quietly watching the animals and birds that inhabit our landscape, and capturing beautiful images of everything from hares to curlews in the process.

Gordon has hides set up at several locations across the National Park where you can accompany him and pick up the skills, sometimes using Gordon’s camera equipment, to capture your own images. Or simply use his binoculars to watch in delight as red grouse, deer or hares go about their daily life.

Contact North York Moors Wildlife to discuss options and create your own bespoke tour.

Want more?

Sightsee from the water with Whitby Coastal Cruises. They sail from Whitby harbour and offer a range of excursions from short trips to Sandsend, twilight and sunset cruises or visits to the local seal colony. Travel in style between the seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough with Yorkshire Coast Boat Trips. You can even bring your bike on board if you fancy a ride on the Cinder Track one way.

For an all round wild time head to North Yorkshire Water Park. It's one of the largest natural lakes in North Yorkshire with various types of water sports to try out. If dry land is more your thing then take to the 2.5km lakeside track on foot, bike or simply wildlife watch in the countryside surroundings.

Discover the scenic Yorkshire Wolds and visit Robert E Fuller's art gallery in Thixendale. As a leading British wildlife artist admire his latest paintings and watch one of many live wildlife cameras, regularly featuring on BBC Springwatch, The One Show and BBC Countryfile.