Happy woman tourist hiking and exploring new places

Five North Yorkshire walks to clear your head this summer

by Karen Shaw

The stresses of daily life never cease to escape us. We live in a world where work, the cost of living, relationships and just day-to-day things can really get to our mental health.

For many of us, it can be difficult to cope. It’s perhaps the reason cases of anxiety and depression are up across the country, as well as more people turning to substances like booze and, as a result, ending up in alcohol rehab. However, finding healthy coping mechanisms and hobbies is a must, and in North Yorkshire, we’re blessed with plenty of walks to get out, clear your head and find that source of calm and relaxation.

As the days get longer, it’s the perfect time to get out and explore. So, if you’re new to North Yorkshire or are starting to find walking a good source of destressing for the very first time, here are five walks you really should try…

Malham Cove and Gordale Scar

Malham Cove

One of the most iconic walks in North Yorkshire, the Malham Cove and Gordale Scar loop, is a must for nature lovers. Starting in the quaint village of Malham, this 8-mile circular walk takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Yorkshire Dales. The trail leads to Malham Cove, a natural limestone amphitheatre, and continues to Gordale Scar, a dramatic limestone ravine. The tranquil Janet’s Foss waterfall is another highlight along the way. This walk offers a mix of flat paths and more challenging climbs, providing a perfect balance for those looking to clear their minds and invigorate their bodies.

Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay


For coastal beauty, the walk from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay is unparalleled. This 7-mile stretch along the Cleveland Way National Trail provides stunning views of the North Sea and rugged cliffs. Starting from the historic town of Whitby, famous for its abbey and connections to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the route follows the cliff tops to the charming fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay. The path is well-marked and relatively easy, making it suitable for all fitness levels. The combination of sea air, dramatic landscapes, and quaint villages makes this walk ideal for clearing your head and revitalising your spirits.

Aysgarth Falls and Bolton Castle

Aysgarth Falls

This 6-mile circular walk in Wensleydale offers a delightful mix of natural beauty and historical interest. Starting at Aysgarth Falls, a series of stunning waterfalls on the River Ure, the route takes you through lush woodland and open fields to the impressive Bolton Castle. The falls themselves are a wonderful place to pause and reflect, with the soothing sound of rushing water providing a perfect backdrop for relaxation. Continuing to Bolton Castle, you can explore the medieval fortress and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. This walk is perfect for those looking to combine a sense of history with the tranquillity of nature.

Ingleborough from Clapham

A single walker on the path by Crina Bottom, heading for Ingleborough, in the background, in the Yorkshire Dales, UK

One of the Yorkshire Dales’ famous Three Peaks, Ingleborough, is a rewarding challenge for those seeking a more strenuous walk. Starting in the village of Clapham, this 9-mile round trip takes you through the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail and past the impressive Ingleborough Cave. The ascent to the summit of Ingleborough is steep in places but offers stunning views over the Dales and beyond. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Lake District and the Irish Sea. The sense of achievement from reaching the top, combined with the breathtaking scenery, makes this walk perfect for clearing your mind and embracing the beauty of the Yorkshire landscape.

Rievaulx Abbey and Helmsley

13th c. Cistercian ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.

For a walk rich in history and natural beauty, the route from Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey is hard to beat. This 7-mile circular walk begins in the charming market town of Helmsley and takes you through serene woodland and open fields to the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, one of the most impressive Cistercian monasteries in England. The peaceful setting of the abbey, nestled in a wooded valley, provides a perfect place for quiet contemplation. The return journey offers wonderful views of the North York Moors and the opportunity to explore Helmsley Castle and the town’s picturesque streets.