Osmotherley and the West

Jonathan’s View

“Some of the best, undiscovered walking in England”

The Area

The western and northern fringes of the North York Moors are scenically the most dramatic. Many of the best views are in Osmotherley and the West and is a rightly popular area for walking. James Herriot (no less) described the views from Sutton Bank as the best in England and who am I to disagree.

Part of its popularity is that the area near Osmotherley is criss crossed by a number of long distance footpaths. Thirsk maybe nearby but once on the moors it is easy to escape fellow walkers. Much of the area is rarely trod. The moors are at their most impressive at any time of the year, but particularly I think in high summer when the flowers are out and the heather is at its most colourful.

Osmotherley and Sutton Bank

Near Scarth Gap
Near Scarth Gap

Osmotherley is the walkers capital of the North York Moors, a pretty Yorkshire village with a sense of purpose. As a location it is an ideal base for many of the best walks, as a village the 3 pubs, cafe and attractive buildings make it a pleasant place to stay for a few days. Mount Grace Priory sits at the foot of the steep escarpment on which Osmotherley sits. In addition the long distance paths, The Cleveland Way and Coast to Coasr pass nearby.

Further south the escarpment finds its way to Sutton Bank with great views over the Vale of York. There is a large visitor centre at Sutton Bank but explore further and you will discover the village of Kilburn and the famous White Horse. The White Horse dates from 1857 when a schoolmaster and his pupils cut the 314 feet long and 250 foot high horse in to the limestone bedrock. It is one of the largest turf cut figures in the country.

The Northern Moors

Carlton Bank
Carlton Bank

To the north of Osmotherley the escarpment turns east on its long run towards the sea, Initially however it passes the finest walking on the moors and some pretty villages at its foot. The walking on the moors is straightforward on wide tracks or arrow straight paths across the heather coated moors. Mind you leaving the tracks and things are very very different. There are a number of traditional North York Moor villages from where to start your walk. Swainby, Great Broughton and Carleton are all very pleasant and each has the advantage of nice pubs to to enjoy a drink or snack. Stokesley is a larger market town a few miles to the north and provides a good base to explore the area and a  buffer between the moors and the industrial wasteland of Teesside further north.

Round Hill on Urra Moor at 454 m provides the highest point on the moors. Most of the land is flat but there are a few deep cols between the moors, don’t be fooled! Near the trig point on Crinkle Moor are the Wainstones, an the unusual collection of boulders with some ancient symbols, a gliding school and some local forestry. However it is the wonderful views over the heather clad moors and the sense of endless horizons which makes walking here such a pleasure.

The Best Walks in Osmotherley and the West

My favourite walks in Osmotherley and the West are listed below, just click on the name for more details.

Easier Walks

Views over Osmotherley. A short walk through the village and in to the pretty woodland nearby.

Mount Grace Priory. Add a short but steep climb with lovely views to a visit of Mount Grace Priory.

Cod Beck Reservoir. Combine the reservoir with a return from Scarth Nick on the escarpment for a lovely round.

A circular from Ingleby Greenhow. A walk in the forest with the moors offering an attractive backdrop.

Harder Walks

Arden Great Moor . An exposed circuit around a large area of grouse moorland with exceptional views.

Sutton Bank & the White Horse. Great views from the escarpment above Sutton Bank are the highlight of this walk.

Moors over Osmotherley. Some of the best moorland walking in Yorkshire with so much more on a 10 mile circuit.

Lyke Wake Walk. Over 40 miles across the North York Moors in this Yorkshire 1 day classic.

High Moors over Carlton. One of the best areas of moorland walking from the pretty village of Carlton.

Weather Forecast



Other Things to do

Coming soon…


Places to Stay

Cottages in the Dales
1 Comment
  • Cyril N. Cowley says:

    I’m afraid that, at age 84 years, my walking opportunities are now somewhat fewer. Nevertheless, good to read about what is available in my area.
    Many thanks!

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