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70 Years of the North York Moors National Park

Winter at Lake Gormire from Sutton Bank Credit Steve BellWinter at Lake Gormire from Sutton Bank Credit Steve Bell

Welcome to our special year

70th anniversary logo

You might not realise it, but by visiting the North York Moors National Park in 2022, you've chosen a very special time to come. Seventy years ago, way back in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II became monarch of the UK, the glove puppet Sooty first appeared on television, tea rationing ended after 13 years and - on 28 November - Britain gained its sixth National Park, the North York Moors.

The creation of National Parks was born out of a desire to keep our most treasured landscapes as unspoilt as possible and - as importantly - to enable everyone to explore and enjoy them for years to come.

In our increasingly busy lives, National Parks are more important than ever as places to relax and unwind, be it testing your stamina on a mountain bike, learning about past generations at a heritage site or simply sitting down in a tranquil spot with a picnic and a good book.

To celebrate our platinum anniversary year and everything that makes the National Park special, we've plenty of ideas for things to see and do, not least a programme of special events, family activities, walks, and exhibitions.

However you choose to spend your time in the National Park, have fun and here's to another seventy sensational years of the North York Moors!

Get involved |  Events and activities | Exhibitions and workshops

Get involved

Sensational 70 years #NorthYorkMoorsSenses

Share your favourite senses and be part of our celebratory film. Every week, on our social media accounts, we'll suggest how to use one of your senses whilst out and about in the National Park. Find out more, including how you can share that moment with us.

Jammy Dodger Whopper cake at Yorkshire Cycle Hub

Celebrate with cake!

As the self-proclaimed Capital of Cake, we’d be missing a trick by not enjoying a slice or two during our birthday year. We’ll be letting you know about special offers from our talented businesses on the Capital of Cake map.

Plus, later in the year, we look forward to sharing a special visit from a local star baker who’ll be exploring the National Park and all its sweet treats.

Enter the 2022 North York Moors Art Award - closing dates 28 February (adults) and 7 March (young artists)

The North York Moors National Park Trust is looking for imaginative and visionary artists who can help tell the story of this dynamic place.

Open to all painters, printmakers, photographers and artists, Submit your artwork today under any one of the themes of past, present or future and help us to celebrate all that the National Park has been, is and will be. An exhibition of entries 'Past, Present, Future' will be held from Saturday 9 April until Sunday 22 May. Find out how to enter the Art Award.

Submit a piece of work for the secret small works open exhibition - ‘The landscape we feel’ (closing date 20 March 2022)

This new exhibition, running from 9 April until 22 May 2022, will celebrate all that makes the North York Moors National Park special through the eyes of the artists who cherish it. Free to enter, it's open to all artists, from the beginner to the professional, and provides an opportunity to see your smaller pieces of work exhibited within the Inspired by... gallery. Head to the exhibition's webpage for an application form.

Events and activities

Dark Skies Festival (18 February - 6 March)

It's festival time, with a high range of stargazing events and night-sky activities across the National Park. New, exciting additions for 2022 include a dark skies exhibition, mindful night walk in Whitby, night-time photography at Gilling Castle, art workshops and new moon gatherings. Get involved in the Festival fun and see the full programme of events.

Join a free guided walk (various dates from 2 March - 6 November)

A Breath of Fresh Air is our great annual programme of free guided walks led by our knowledgeable and dedicated band of National Park volunteers who will be telling the stories of the National Park over the last 70 years. Numbers on each walk are restricted and many walks fill up quickly, so please book as early as possible.

Cleveland Way above Kepwick Credit Dependable Productions

York Ice Trail #YorkIceTrail (5 - 6 March)

Explore the UK’s biggest outdoor Ice Trail returning with a range of magnificent ice sculptures dotted around York’s city centre, including a special one marking our 70th anniversary.

Discover National Parks Fortnight (2 - 18 April)

Discover more about the nation's protected landscapes during this annual event. Here in the North York Moors, rather than head to the same old favourite spots, why not make 2022 the year to explore somewhere new? We'll have plenty of ideas for you to try.

The Wainstones Circuit (19 May)

Join the Cleveland Way National Trail team for this wonderful 7.5-mile circuit on the Cleveland Hills as part of our 70th Anniversary celebrations. It’s a good romp, with plenty of ups and downs, taking in an iconic stretch of the National Trail, in particular the famous Wainstones. The route starts from Chop Gate car park. Dogs welcome on short leads. Bookimg details to follow.

WalkFest 2022 (28 - 29 May)

Join us for the return of our annual Walking Festival and enjoy a great programme of guided themed walks in some very special places.

Battle of Byland 1322 - Yorkshire's forgotten conflict (various dates)

We're also marking the 700th anniversary of a significant, but largely forgotten battle, fought in October 1322 in the Sutton Bank area between King Edward II of England and King Robert I (‘the Bruce’) of Scotland during the Scottish Wars of Independence.

  • Battle of Byland: Sutton Bank to Rievaulx Abbey (Sunday 29 May) - a 6 mile guided walk. Booking details to follow.
  • Battle of Byland: Sutton Bank to Roulston Scar (Sunday 11 September) -  a 5.5. mile circular guided walk. Booking details to follow.
  • Battle of Byland 700th anniversary (Saturday 15 October 10am-4pm). Free entry, drop in anytime (10am-4pm)
    - Displays and demonstrations of arms and armour
    - Guided walks
    - Bow-making/children’s activities and trails
    - Unveiling new memorial and interpretation
    - Pop-up stalls (Royal Armouries, English Heritage, Towton Battlefield Society, Battlefields Trust)
    - Period music, food and drink tastings
Dalby's Inferno endurance challenge event (11 June)

For those who like to feel the burn, a new endurance challenge for 2022, 10 laps of a rugged 5km course over 10 hours. Organised by Dalby Forest, Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team and North Yorkshire Sport, each lap starts on the hour, every hour, for ten hours. Book your place now.

A Taste of the North York Moors (7 August)

Enjoy a taste of the North York Moors and celebrate local food at Sutton Bank National Park Centre as we are joined by some of our local suppliers, accompanied by music and Morris dancing. Free entry, drop in anytime (10am –4pm).

Mindful Month (throughout September)

A month of activities celebrating how nature and the myriad ways that visitors can switch off from everyday stresses can help you regain a sense of wellbeing. Yoga classes, sunset meditations, forest bathing and art workshops are just some of the events in the line-up. Full details of what's on offer will be available later in the year.

Mindfulness Credit VBI

MoorsRun - Turnpike Trot 10k and Rabbit Run 5k (7 October)

Run in association with Hardmoors, our fully marshalled trail run from The Moors National Park Centre is a great introduction for families. Children aged between 7 – 13 can enter the 5k if running with their parent/guardian. Entries will open soon.

Dark Skies Fringe Festival (21 - 30 October)

One festival isn't enough! We know you want to #SeeMoorStars so we added another fixture to the stargazing calendar. Expect more starry delights across the North York Moors during half-term week.

Exhibitions, workshops and events hosted by Inspired by... gallery

Dark Reflections and Starscapes (19 February - 3 April)

Starscapes work by Helen Peyton

The first exhibitions of the year at the Inspired by... gallery feature commissioned artists Helen Peyton and Louise Beer, whose work explores our relationship with our dark starry skies and the impact of light pollution. Part of Dark Skies Festival 2022.

  • Opening night (18 February from 6pm) - a chance to hear our commissioned artists Helen Peyton and Louise Beer speak about their work before astronomer Richard Darn introduces our dark skies. Telescopes will be available in the grounds with experts to help you find your way around the night skies. Booking essential.
  • Meet the artists (19 February) - Two sessions from 11am to 12.30pm and 1.15pm to 2.30pm. Free but booking required.
  • Inspired by… Dark Skies Printed Lantern workshop (22 February) - Make a paper lantern with Helen Peyton (for adults and children). Sessions at 11am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 2.45pm. Free but booking required.
  • Inspired by... The Starry Night (23 February) - children's art workshop. Booking essential.
Part, Present, Future (North York Moors Art Award 2022) (9 April - 22 May)

A selected exhibition of works in paint medium, print, photography and mixed media to mark the 70th anniversary of the National Park, featuring imaginative and visionary artists who can help tell the story of this dynamic place.

‘The landscape we feel’ (secret small works open exhibition) (9 April - 22 May)

An open exhibition celebrating all that makes the North York Moors National Park special through the eyes of the artists who cherish it. All works remain anonymous until bought.

A Woodland Sanctuary - Trees and woodland of the North York Moors (16 July - 12 September)

A joint exhibition of renowned photographers Simon Baxter and Joe Cornish at the Inspired by... gallery. Their work has been gathered within the North York Moors National Park over the last five years. Woodland has been a source of exploration, tranquillity, meditation, artistic study and inspiration, and, especially during the pandemic, a solace for both photographers. Includes a series of special events, talks and walks (booking details to follow):

  • Exhibition tours (16 and 17 July)  - Joe Cornish and Simon Baxter will be leading a number of in-depth exhibition tours over the weekend
  • Presentation by guest speaker, Lucy Lapwing (16 July)
  • 'Mothy coffee' (17 July) - expert Lucy Lapwing gives an insight into the secret lives of moths, as well as identifying  the moths captured in our moth trap
  • Guest speaker Mark Littlejohn (17 July) - join award-winning landscape photographer Mark for an inspirational talk
  • Presentation by guest speaker, Sean Tucker (23 July)
  • An evening with Joe Cornish and Simon Baxter (23 July) - photographer David Ward in conversation with Joe and Simon, followed by drinks, canapés and music
  • Time out with Simon Baxter and Joe Cornish (28 July) - Pick up tips from Simon and Joe on using your smartphone camera on an afternoon walk around May Beck and Falling Foss
  • The Art of Looking (12 and 26 August) - using charcoal and pencil to create your own work inspired by observation and photographs from the exhibition with artist Peter Reynolds

More details available on Simon Baxter's website.

Threads and Pathways (17 September - 7 November)

Celebrating Lockton Artists Group, the nine local artists and designers following individual pathways but sharing a common thread, the 'artists' village' in the North York Moors. The exhibition displays all that can grow out of the roots of this particularly special place.

  • Hand forge hooks (20 October) - make your own hand forged hook using traditional blacksmithing techniques (booking details to follow)
  • Artist Fridays (23, 30 September, 7,14, 21, 28 October, 4 November) - a chance to meet members of the Lockton Artist Group
Connections to Landscape (17 September - 7 November)

Farndale artist and art therapist Pauline Brown exhibits a selection of recent drawings and paintings of the landscape in and around Farndale, in response to the seasons and the changing colours and moods of the moorland and skies.

  • Colour between light and dark workshop (30 October) - join Pauline exploring how colour affects our moods using wet-on-wet painting, charcoal and pastel. Booking details to follow.