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Great outdoors in the North York Moors

Heather on the North York Moors

There really is no better place than the North York Moors to get out and about and enjoy the joys of nature.

The name ‘North York Moors’ does not exactly conjure up images of woodland and so it may come as some surprise to learn that this is the most wooded of England's National Parks. With over a fifth of the landscape under tree cover, the importance of woodland to the North York Moors National Park is huge.

The native woodlands, where ash, oak, birch and rowan thrive are rich in wildlife. The ground is carpeted with shade loving plants. Insects abound and birdsong fills the air. But in the North York Moors, it is the new plantation woodlands which dominate the scene, at least in terms of area. The large forests of Dalby, Cropton and Boltby are not only important for timber production but for wildlife and recreation too.

The rivers in the North York Moors come in an amazing range: small becks bubbling over moorland, swollen torrents thundering through deep wooded gorges, and slow waters quietly flowing through flat valleys. Most of the rivers flow over stones and gravel through firm tree-lined banks. In some places the rivers lie low between soft sandy easily eroded banks and clay that slowly but steadily slips into the water.

The levels can change dramatically depending on rainfall. Sections of river in the south of the Park can dry up in dry spells. Clear shallow water can soon turn to murky brown torrents. Some great places to visit include:

Falling Foss

This walk gives you the chance to meander alongside May Beck and Little Beck streams and marvel at the array of wild flowers which blanket the woodland floor. Many birds can be seen in the woodland canopy for birdwatchers, but if you prefer a more tranquil setting the waterfall at Falling Foss is particularly striking following a period of heavy rain. There is a great tea shop there too. Grid Ref: NZ 885040

Scaling Dam

Owned by Northumbrian Water Scaling Dam is a large reservoir bordering the A171, Guisborough to Whitby road. It is a popular bird watching site as it is home to over 180 bird species. The small Nature Reserve in the southwest corner of the lake provides protection to the meadowland and water’s edge habitats.