This region near Keldy and Cropton is often referred to incorrectly as the 'North Yorkshire Moors', but the name comes from the fact that it is the 'Moors' North of York - the correct title being the 'North York Moors'. The North York Moors National Park first came into existence in 1952 through the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act (1949), and covers an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square km) making it one of the smaller National Parks in the UK. However, it has been occupied for thousands of years, the proof of which can be found in many ancient and prehistoric sites including: standing stones; remains of ancient burial chambers; forts; and numerous stone crosses.
Early settlers left a host of landmarks, the tallest of which is the 25-foot standing stone in Runston churchyard near Bridlington, estimated to be 3-4,000 years old. From medieval times a number of stone crosses, thought to have been way markers (footpath guides), were also erected. Further evidence of early settlers and travellers is underlined by the many prehistoric burial mounds scattered throughout the North York Moors. Evidence of Roman occupation can be seen at Wheeldale Moor, including the remains of a mile long Roman Road that originally crossed the moors between Pickering and Grosmont; a well preserved short stretch, the so called Wades causeway, survives today.
A pheasant at Cropton
There are many ruins of archaeological and historical interest throughout the North York Moors National Park, including great Yorkshire monastic houses such as Rievaulx, old castles and many fine listed buildings that will be of interest to visitors. These buildings and the associated settlements exist today through the dedication of monks from Europe and Ireland who settled in the moors, to establish many of the historic abbeys and churches. After the original abbeys were built, people travelled to settle in the moors from far and wide, building settlements in wild and isolated places. The moors were then transformed through farming to what we know today, converting many of the rugged moors into green, lush and fertile dales.
Sunset at Cropton
This region was also home to Captain James Cook, one of Britain's finest sea-faring explorers, who was based at Whitby for a time to learn his sea-fairing skills. A monument built at Easby moor to honour his Yorkshire roots provides a panoramic view of the moorland all the way over to the coast.
Yorkshire’s east coast is also famous for inspiring one of the most well-known novels Dracula. The author of the novel Bram Stoker, stayed in the Royal Hotel on the western side of Whitby while writing his famous novel. This has inspired a whole ‘Dracula’ culture centred on Whitby and ‘Goth’ events take place annually with some very interesting sites to be seen!
Whitby Abbey in Yorkshire