North York Moors Tourist Attractions
It’s not surprising that the North York Moors National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom; it really does have a lot going for it.
The UK has very different and distinct seasons which bring very different weather conditions and there is nowhere quite like the North York Moors for exhibiting this with its backdrop of beautiful scenery. During the main summer weeks between July and the beginning of September the Moors are coated with purple/pink velvet like flower’s which is of course heather.
The Moors are also the home to an amazing amount of different wildlife, and probably the most famous animal which is associated with the area is the Red Grouse which plays quite an important role in the area’s economy with local people using a procedure called “beating”, which impacts on farmers with outsiders coming in and occupying the local accommodation.
Various forms of income are produced by Grouse shooting, which help the people in charge of looking after the moors maintain it. Often people driving over the moors will see smoke billowing up and this is the local farmers burning of the old heather which has become too coarse, this will now allow regrowth of shoots, which are important as food for the local sheep and young grouse.
By far the biggest attractions of the area are the numerous picturesque villages which are dotted over the moorland. Probably the most famous village regarding tourism in recent years is Goathland, which was used as the main location in the TV drama Heartbeat.
The village was given the fictitious name of Aidensfield and the series started in 1991, with Yorkshire Television spending a great deal of their time filming in Goathland village and the surrounding moorlands. The main actors, guest actors and television crew mostly stayed in Goathland during filming and used the various pubs and hotels for their accommodation. Tourist’s to the area could pop in one of the local hotels like the Inn on the Moor and go into the public bar,
and find themselves rubbing shoulders with various famous actors from the series like Nick Berry who played the central policeman or Jeremiah Greengrass the local lovable rogue played by Bill Maynard. In fact the gentleman who owns the Inn on the Moor and his son actually appeared in many of the scenes as extras in the series due to the fact they obviously had become friends with the crew and actors.
The series was popular on many levels one of them is the fact it was set in the late 60s with strong backing music of popular hits of that period, offering lots of nostalgia.
One of the main focal points was the local hotel which became in the series the Aidensfield Arms due to the fact that the interior of the pub itself had to be changed very little to look like a late 1960s public house. Only a few items like the jukebox which was modern would be removed and modern bar pump handles would need to be changed for authentic late 1960s versions. You can wander into the public house today and if you are familiar with the series it will look almost exactly the same. Later on in the series they actually made a replica of the pub in a mill complex in a small village called Pudsey which is near to Leeds and Yorkshire television’s headquarters.
Opposite the Aidensfild Arms the local garage became the fictitious Scripps garage and funeral directors, and from this point it is only a short walk down to the centre of the village itself where you can see the bank of shops which was used for regular film locations. Some of the main locations were the village store and post office which once again didn’t need to be changed a great deal to look like 1960s versions. In 1922 a war memorial was erected on the village green, which is a replica of the Lilla Cross, and this can be seen very often whilst watching the television series.
When filming took place the television crew would often close the main road off and cover up the yellow lines and the other small references which weren’t authentic to the 1960 period.
The series eventually ended in 2010 much to the upset of many local businesses that had benefited
from the tourism generated by the program and there was quite a strong campaign in the area with people voting to express their desire for the program to continue, but unfortunately it made no difference. The reality is that even though the Heartbeat TV programme is no longer produced it is still a good tourist attraction for the area, especially because of the many repeats of the series on satellite television.
Very close to Goathland is a very charming little spot called Beck Hole which going back in time to the 1830s caused quite a problem when the Whitby to Pickering railway line was being constructed, due to the fact that this little area had quite a strong incline. This meant that the carriages had to use a complicated system of wired ropes and pulleys to get them through this difficult spot.
A beck is a stream hence the name Beck Hole.
Throughout the Moors there are many beautiful waterfalls, one of the most well-known one being the Mallyan Spout, which is approximately 70 feet high and looks extremely impressive especially after heavy rain. One of the local hotels has been now named after
the waterfall and from that hotel you can get access to a riverside walk and then leading to a path through the woods which eventually takes you to the waterfall itself.
The North York Moors highest point is a short distance from the Salters gate on the Whitby Pickering road, from which it’s possible to view the Hole of Horcum which is a natural amphitheatre over a quarter of a mile in width and over 600 feet deep. It has the nickname of the Devils punch bowl and was formed by the springs of two rock layers. These springs allowed the rainwater to seek through porous rocks which took place over many thousands of years which caused this hole to enlarge and become the size it is today.
The Moors are also home to the North York Moors Railway, where steam trains run on an 18 mile stretch of track from Grosmont and Pickering going through the gorgeous natural scenery and stopping at Goathland, which has one of the most interesting stations along the track, and it has been used as the backdrop for many television programmes and films.
A new service was introduced by the rail operating company in 2005 where you can travel from Whitby to Pickering and stop at all the stations in between. It is now possible to go by steam train from Goathland to Whitby on most days during the summer period.
Grosmont railway station