Explore the wide open spaces, hidden valleys, and cosy tea rooms of the North York Moors
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty LevelsMultiple options available
1 - 3
In the north east of England, the great moors of Yorkshire rise out of the surrounding lowlands. The vast upper moor is home to miles of heather, interspersed by wooded valleys and villages that still retain their unique Yorkshire character, transporting you back in time.
We’ll be staying in the village of Helmsley, which marks the start of the Cleveland way and is south of the main moors and east of the Hambleton Hills. There are opportunities to explore the countryside by simply walking out of the hostel door, but for the more adventurous it’s a great base for attempting some of the classic Moors walks.
Helmsley Walking Weekend Dates:
- Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd March
- Join us for Yoga – For our March date we will also be running our Yoga and walking trip from the same venue. Sign up here…
In a nutshell:
- See the windswept uplands of the North York Moors and head out for a walk in this unique environment.
- Explore the wooded valleys and varied history of this part of England, from the 12th century Rievaulx Abbey to the medieval castle in Helmsley.
- Enjoy a fully guided set of walks, where you can enjoy the view and company without worrying about navigation.
- Relax in our private hostel or head out to explore the many rustic country pubs.
With the log burner on we look forward to welcoming you to this stunning part of Yorkshire. The Large Outdoors host will be there to meet you and introduce you to the group, Friday night is a relaxed and social affair with the host cooking a group meal in the hostel. There are of course a great selection of cosy country pubs to pop into as well.
After dinner, we’ll go over the plans for the next day, including outlining the walk options. We’re also happy to talk about kit, food and weather, but after this most people sit around enjoying the fire and thinking about the days to come!
Today we will aim to offer at least two walks, a harder longer walk and a much more relaxed gentle walk.
Cringle Moor – Where the northern moors drop down several hundred metres towards the River Leven, there is an excellent opportunity to walk along this scarp edge and admire the fantastic views in all directions. The moor at this point is undulating, so we’ll climb several hills as we follow the Cleveland Way from east to west, and we can include a visit to the dramatic rocky outcrop of Wain Stones. This is known to be one of the most spectacular places in the North York Moors, and once we’ve visited both Hasty Bank and Cringle Moor, we’ll drop down to a lower level and take a straight line back to the start, finishing with a short ascent through woodland.
Rievaulx Abbey – For those wanting a short walk, we’ll head straight from Helmsley along the Cleveland way west of the town, through woodland towards Rievaulx Abbey. This colossal set of ruins dates from the 12th century and is easily visible from the surrounding paths. From the abbey, we’ll complete a short circuit around this beautiful part of Rye Dale and climb a small neighbouring hill before heading back to Helmsley. Besides woodland there is an extensive view over Scawton Moor, and the tempting chance to sample the Rievaulx tearoom.
Arden Great Moor – Lying west of Helmsley, Arden Great Moor is a wide expanse of heathland just before the moor drops off towards the Vale of York. We’ll start in the village of Hawnby and head up onto the moor via woodland paths, before following tracks over the moor-top to the western edge and returning back into the valley bottom via Thorodale and North Moor Wood. This walk is intermediate, and though it is a longer option, there is only one major ascent, and the traverse of the moor-top is flat. The views west are incredible and the combination of high moor plus plenty of woodland makes this a great walk.
Other options – The wooded valleys surrounding Helmsley have plenty of opportunities for shorter walks, or groups could drive further east towards the coast. For those wanting to stay in Helmsley, the castle and walled gardens are available to explore, and the town itself has plenty of independent shops, pubs and tearooms to make your way around.
Late afternoon onwards
When everyone is back from the walks, exhilarated by their day in the Moors, you’re free to make the evening your own. Many choose to sample the local pubs, have a drink at the hostel, discuss the day’s adventures or just lie back with a cup of tea. We’ll be heading out to a great local pub for our evening meal, this is not included in the weekend.
After breakfast, it’s time to pack up the hostel and head out on another day walk or you could join our Alpaca walk.
Sutton Bank – To the west of Helmsley lies Sutton Bank, where the moor ends in steep woodlands and views over the valleys and rivers below. We’ll walk along the top of the bank for as long as we like, taking in the moor on three sides and the woods on the other. We’ll return by dropping into the woods and walking amongst the trees, taking us back to the starting point. This will be the longer walk of the day, and there’s a chance to visit the nature reserve of Gormire Lake and the craggy edge of Boltby Scar.
Ash Dale – Just north of Helmsley are several deep wooded valleys that can be linked up to make excellent short circular walks. We’ll head up Ash Dale before crossing fields and returning via Beck Dale. Both these valleys are narrow, but despite this give an excellent impression of being away from it all and far from the outside world. This ‘other-worldly’ impression means you’ll feel you’ve been on quite an adventure when we finally emerge back in Helmsley.
We will be offering a small group the chance to go Alpaca walking in the North York Moors. This will last about 1.5 hours and you will all have your own Alpaca to walk. Places for this are limited and will need to be booked with a weekend ticket.
We aim to have everyone back in Helmsley for 1pm, where we meet up for Sunday lunch before the weekend finishes at 3pm and people begin heading off. Feel free to stay and wander round town if you want, and there’s always the option to linger in the cafés for afternoon tea with your new walking friends!
About the location
The North York Moors and Hambleton Hills
Stretched between the Vale of York and the North Sea, the North York Moors are an upland plateau famous by the blanket covering of heather, which flowers in late summer and turns the whole moor purple. Alongside the moors themselves, the plateau is cut by streams and valleys hidden away from the world and filled with woodland, home to native wildlife and untouched for hundreds of years. In the east, the coast is a long and wild stretch of cliffs and coves. The long distance trail of the Cleveland Way circuits the moors, and there are many other tracks and paths for walkers to explore.
The northern edge of the moors drops straight down to the lowlands, but to the south, wide ridges lead from the main moor, interspersed with long valleys. The most westerly of these moorland ridges form the Hambleton Hills, with their steep sides and flat tops.
You can read more about the North York Moors in our blog.
Good to know:
Helmsley YHA is a comfortable hostel a short walk from the town centre. There’s plenty of room for everyone to sit around, comfortable sofas, and a wood fuel stove. We rent the hostel exclusively for the weekend so it’s all yours.
Train Station Collection:
We will be offering a group taxi from Northallerton train station at 7pm. This is on the East Coast Mainline. Taxi costs £10 and can be booked on the main booking box.
- 2 nights hostel accommodation, please note bedding is supplied but you will need a towel
- 2 days of guided day walks – please note any excursions or other extra activities will incur an additional charge.
- Welcome meal on the Friday. Breakfasts and packed lunches for Saturday and Sunday’s Walk. Please note Saturday night we head to a local pub and this is not included.
- As well as meals, we also provide a variety of complimentary soft drinks and beverages – tea & coffee which includes herbal, fruit and decaffeinated options and fruit squashes.
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What our members have to say...
My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocomeVanessaMember Since 2018
Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!ClaireMember Since 2016
“I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.ElizabethMember Since 2016