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Inspiration: The North York Moors National Park and its Coastline

Discover a coastline steeped in history this autumn and winter with some of the most iconic sceneries, heritage attractions and eateries within the UK. 

At the eastern edge of the North York Moors National Park, the land meets the North Sea.

For thousands of years the coastal elements – not to mention the actions of people – have modified this coastline into a varied and fascinating landscape.  

There are towering cliffs and rocky shores, steep wooded valleys (or 'wykes)', and sheltered bays and sandy beaches. 

It’s a coastline of dramatic views and dark skies, with the highest point on the east coast of England found at Boulby, near Staithes, where the cliffs are a mighty 200 metres (656 feet) high. 

Elsewhere, you’ll find wildflowers, nesting seabirds and abundant shore life, while dotted along the coast are attractive villages – with their many cafes, restaurants, pubs & bars -  and the remains of ancient industries.  

The coast is also internationally important for its geology. Indeed, it was here, in the nineteenth century, that geologists like William ‘Strata’ Smith laid many of the foundations of the early science. The rocks on the cliffs and shore formed during the Jurassic period, around 180 million years ago. These sandstones and shales contain fossilised remains of the plants and animals that lived at this time, from ammonites to dinosaur footprints.

North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast

In England and Wales, the most beautiful and unspoilt stretches of coast have been given special status to ensure they are cared for by local authorities and government agencies. These iconic coastlines are called ‘Heritage Coasts’ and there are over 40 around the coast of England and Wales. 

The North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast is 36 miles long and stretches from Saltburn, just north of the National Park, down to Scalby Mills near Scarborough.

The Heritage Coast is a fascinating area to explore and enjoy, but the coast can also be a hazardous place to visit if you don’t follow a few basic safety precautions.


After some more inspiration? We've put together a blog of how to spend 48 Hours on the North York Moors Coast

Image Credits: Top left, VisitBritain / Dependable, Top middle, Visit Britain/P Kindersley

The top things to do in the North York Moors National Park in Spring