top of page

3. Lost on the moor (York - Whitby, Yorkshire)

The vast moors of Yorkshire, in the north of England, are quite a poem... anyone who has had the pleasure of admiring it will forever keep its memory engraved in their heart. Here, we are not talking about incredible landscapes, but about an emotional shock, as it grips the guts. And yet, far from being natural, the English heath, which today covers 40% of the territory, has nothing natural about it. It is the result of hard work of selective burning carried out by man, to prevent the forest from expanding. Today, the heath is a source of controversy and part of the territory is being revitalized as a forest, in order to develop the timber industry and reduce greenhouse gases.

Route : 73 km, approximately 1 hour drive, with a magical crossing in the heart of the moors. The road alone is already a journey. We are suddenly propelled into the heart of Wuthering Heights and other romantic novels by the Brontë sisters.


On our way, we stopped first in the charming village of Helmsley. From there, we cycled through the countryside, aiming for the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, 5 kilometers away. Their appearance in the heart of the valley is simply sublime and commands respect.

Built in the 12th century and the first Cistercian abbey in the north of England, it quickly grew to include several hundred monks at its peak. She also founded several daughter abbeys. Like the others, it declined, then closed in 1538 during the closure of the monasteries decided by Henry VIII. Since the 18th century, the attraction for the romanticism of its ruins has not ceased.

Info : small parking lot on site. Reception with information, WC and shop. Price: 12.50 pounds per adult. Don't miss the pretty little bridge 600 meters before arriving.


Back in Helmsley, we took the opportunity to visit its medieval castle, built on a rocky outcrop. You will discover 900 years of history and evolution of the fortress, with beautiful views of the surrounding region.

Info : Reception, shop and WC on site. The price is 9.50 pounds per adult or free with the English Heritage Pass.


We continued our journey to reach Goathland, whose station is famous for being that of the Harry Potter film. The station was unfortunately closed for renovation work, we could only admire it from a distance. The village is charming and there are numerous black-headed sheep.


Wasted effort, we decided to go across the moor by bike, in search of prehistoric remains. We parked at a dead end, Haunted House, which lives up to its name. The people there are not friendly, everything is fenced off and full of private signs.

Even so, we were able to leave our bus there and go by bike, in the pouring rain. Don't look, nothing is indicated and the GPS in the moor is better to forget. The path? There aren't any either and the only one we found was muddy and soggy. However, we had a good laugh, because cycling on the moors is a real adventure! If you plan to do the same, still take precautions, otherwise you will quickly become disoriented.

The region has nearly 63 cairnfields, 3 to 4 meters in diameter, which were mostly used to prune fields for agriculture (the fields are filled with stones). Others, larger, may have been used as burials (tumuli). With the moor, it is not easy to distinguish them and the place is not very busy.

The standing stone was to serve as a landmark. It is visible far away. The site was discovered after fires in the 1960s. Near the stones, quantities of flint, arrowheads, bones, etc. were found, which testify to occupation of the site for 5,000 years. The view is magnificent and an incredible energy emanates from this place.


For the night, we stayed in Whitby, at a motorhome stopover with a view of the Abbey ruins. Very well maintained, on grass and on stones, the site is quiet and only offers a limited number of places, by reservation. All amenities are on site. To recommend!

0 views0 comments


bottom of page