The North York Moors National Park is 70 years old

North York Moors National Park has inspired locals and tourists for generations.

More than 20,000 people call it home and it attracts more than eight million visitors each year.

Its woodland, forest and moorland, together with 26 miles (41km) of coastline, offer a diverse range of landscapes and vistas.

It is one of the UK’s 15 national parks and celebrates its 70th anniversary on 28 November.

To mark this milestone, BBC News asked those who knew him best to explain what made it such a special place.

David Bream, one of an army of volunteers for the North York Moors National Park, said he believed it was a place that allowed people to “get away from things”.

“It gives me that sense of timelessness,” she said.

With a long love of the park, he applied for a volunteer ranger role in 2014 and was now leading groups of volunteers and helping train others.

“Sometimes we’re out in glorious weather and sometimes it’s not. It doesn’t make much difference to the feeling people get from volunteering at the park.”

The work ranged from checking and repairing the vast number of public rights of way, to chatting with visitors about the park and working on conservation projects, he said.

“You are there to make a difference, you are there to make an improvement.”

Mr Bream said he has never known anyone who stopped volunteering at the National Park because they didn’t like the role.

She said there was one place in the park that she considered her favorite spot: a run-down farmhouse on the edge of the moor.

“Sometimes I sit there looking down on Bransdale, having lunch, and I just think about the past and what happened and how people lived.

“It must have been a very hard life.”

For Dr Briony Fox, director of conservation and climate change at the North York Moors National Park Authority, the diverse landscape was what made the park so special.

“Within an hour, you can be deep in Dalby Forest and an hour later you can be on the coast or high on the moors,” he said.

Dr. Fox’s role involved working with the park’s landowners, who owned most of its 554 square miles (1,436 sq km), to help them manage that land in a nature-friendly way.

It wasn’t just about preservation and conservation, however, she said.

“We are truly a living and working landscape.

“There is a balance between what tourism can offer and what people who visit the park can do and ensure that there are still those opportunities for people to live and work here.”

Dr. Fox said her favorite spot in the park depended on her mood.

“I love being at the top of Boulby Cliff looking down into Staithes. You have this beautiful historic fishing village, you have this fantastic coastline.

“Sometimes, I love standing on top of the open moor and feeling that sense of near insignificance, because you’re just a speck in this expanse of heather.”

He added that it was the long history of the people who have farmed and owned land in the park for generations and the new ideas and thoughts of the people that helped make the park special.

“There’s something for everyone here,” she said.

North York Moors National Park Youth Engagement Officer Mary Jane Alexander said she has worked with a variety of children from outside and inside the park.

“It could be young people who are out of education, right down to those who are struggling for whatever reason. But equally, we work with those who want to do their part for nature.”

Ms. Alexander said the park-run programs have helped build confidence, develop teamwork and promote well-being.

“It’s massively about awe and wonder,” she said.

“For a lot of young people that we bring out, just being in that green place is a huge thing.”

Ms Alexander, who grew up in Scarborough, said her parents instilled in her a connection to nature, adding that working with children in this way allowed her to give back.

North York Moors National Park is also one of the best places in the country to see the stars, thanks to low light pollution and clear horizons.

Ms. Alexander said stargazing was one of the many things children can experience in some of the residential classes offered at the park.

“Seeing their faces when they see so many stars for the first time and a shooting star, honestly the eruption of whoops and whoops,” she said.

Having spent a lot of time in Runswick Bay during her childhood, Ms Alexander said it was her favorite place, adding that she had ‘many happy memories’.

“It’s such a lovely place – the Cleveland Way, walking down the valley to the beach or walking from high up on the shore and seeing this vast bay in front of you.”

Childhood memories were what Ellie Corbett, who grew up near York, said she thought made the North York Moors National Park so special to her.

“It was a place we came to often when we were younger with family. We would come on days out and go camping.”

After leaving school, Ms Corbett worked in the hospitality industry but said she was inspired to become an apprentice forest ranger in the National Park after spending time abroad.

“I lived in New Zealand for a year and I think it was very inspiring there, how they put so much emphasis on conservation,” she said.

Trainee National Park Rangers gained hands-on work experience alongside academic qualifications, he explained.

“Now I can come and work here and I think it’s just great to take care of the places that mean a lot to me.”

While it was hard to pick a favorite spot, Corbett said his pick would be the Hole of Horcum, a spectacular natural amphitheater 400 feet deep and more than half a mile wide.

According to local folklore, the “hole” was formed when a giant called Wade scooped up and threw dirt at someone he was arguing with, creating a huge hollow in the landscape.

Mrs Corbett said: ‘I think it’s such a beautiful place to start with. It’s got all the moorland – and when the heather is out it’s amazing,

“At any time of the year, it’s really impressive. Then, there’s the folklore behind it.”

He added that the benefit of working in the North York Moors National Park was always discovering new places.

“Then I can bring my family and partner back and show them, because you always find something new.”

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Chirping And Instagram. Submit your story ideas to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *