Sixty years ago, on 28 November 1952, the North York Moors National Park was created.
This, the 6th National Park in Britain, encompasses vast stretches of heather moorland, areas of mixed woods, lush green dales interspersed with traditional market towns and picturesque stone villages, and a wonderful coastline of cliffs, beaches and small colourful harbours – making it an ideal destination for a walking holiday.
The landscape of the North York Moors is one that has been created by man over millennia, and work to preserve and conserve the beauty of the park continues to this day.
Strike out on foot along one of the many paths or tracks that crisscross the area and you will be surprised by the variety of landscapes contained within the boundaries of the park. It is this that gives the North York Moors its special appeal.
However, perhaps the best way to fully understand the unique atmosphere of the North York Moors is by boarding a steam train for a nostalgic ride through the heart of the moors and onwards to the coast.
You are soon passing flower-filled meadows and marshes where butterflies flit among rare orchids – the elusive Duke of Burgundy fritillary thrives here, though you may need to be patient to charm this delicate aristocrat from his stately home on the moors.
The train continues on its way, now winding through deep wooded valleys before coming out onto the moors. Visit North Yorkshire in late summer and the moors are ablaze with the vivid pinks and purples of the three types of heather that light up the landscape.
Each well-kept station along the line harks back to a different era - cosy cafés sell afternoon tea and cakes, inviting you to linger. Alternatively, travel all the way to the end of the line to reach the fishing port at Whitby, famed for its magnificent cliff-top abbey, Bram Stoker’s tales of Dracula, and distinctive black jewellery ornately carved from local jet (fossilised monkey puzzle tree!).
To celebrate the Park's anniversary and to get a real taste of the moors, enjoy a walking holiday that combines the best of what the park has to offer - ride the train to Levisham, Newtondale Halt or Goathland and walk back to Pickering through the beautiful countryside of the North York Moors National Park.