Yorkshire Moors vs. Dartmoor

Based on another post, I've narrowed my choices down to Dartmoor and Yorkshire Moors (which I assume is the same as "North York Moors.") Either one could fit into our trip, albeit at different stages. I'd especially love to hear from anyone who has been to both. We'll have almost two days, and would like to both hike and drive.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

We have visited both and also Bodmin Moor. Both Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor have lots of neolithic and later historic sites. We found both these moors more interesting on overcast days....We drove across the Yorkshire Moors on another trip - they weren't as interesting to us - seemed more like a good hiking area, but we are more interested in history when visiting the UK. We did enjoy Whitby Abbey which is in that area. In Yorkshire, we much preferred the Dales.

Posted by Dan
Williamsburg
5 posts

Thanks. That's very helpful. I wasn't familiar with Bodmin, which looks like an easy trip from Dartmoor.

Posted by Dan
Williamsburg
5 posts

Wow, I just looked at pictures of Whitby Abbey. Amazing! Too bad it looks like we won't make it there. If only we could take a 2 month trip instead of 2 weeks.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

I lived near Dartmoor for a number of years and have walked and camped there. My experience of the North Yorkshire Moors is limited to a one week geography field trip when I was a student. Both areas share a number of features - the landscapes are upland moor and bog with some woodland, much of it quite bleak and bare. Dartmoor is slightly higher, the Yorkshire Moors slightly bigger in area. Dartmoor is granite and has Tors (massive rocky outcrops at the tops of hills), Yorkshire is shale, sandstone and limestone and is a bit less spiky than Dartmoor. Both areas are great for hiking, both have neolithic, Bronze Age and later burial sites and other evidence of habitation, both are National Parks with huge amounts of information available on line and in print if you search for it. Personally I prefer Dartmoor, I just think it's more attractive, not least because of the Tors. You may have heard of Geocaching, and Dartmoor is where its pre-GPS ancestor, known as Letterboxing, began in the 19th century. There are large numbers of Dartmoor letterboxes to find, and a fair amount of information on line. I expect there are geocaches there now as well, but back in the '70s we just relied on map, compass and a book of cryptic instructions to find the locations. Which reminds me, in either location you should have the relevant Ordnance Survey map - reference OL28 is the 1:25,000 map for Dartmoor and OL26 for the North Yorkshire Moors.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2395 posts

Wow, I just looked at pictures of Whitby Abbey. Amazing! Too bad it looks like we won't make it there. I thought North York Moors was one of your options? If so, Whitby is reached by driving right through the heart of the moors. Makes for a great overnight place. You aren't thinking of Yorkshire Dales are you? That's further west and not near Whitby. I have not been to the other moors on your list. I found the North York Moors to be pretty and a nice drive but we didn't explore them much. The heather was blooming and many of the fields were purple.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Whitby Abbey, a significant historic site, is just over an hour's drive from York. If you get a suitably atmospheric day, it's a wonderful spot for a visit. Start by the water and climb the 199 (99?) steps to the abbey. When we visited, the wind was blasting up by the abbey......About six miles from there is the tiny town of Robin Hood's Bay which is also worth a short visit......Kevin, thank you for all the info about the moors. We intend to revisit the Cornwall ones soon.

Posted by Dan
Williamsburg
5 posts

Douglas, Yes, I wrote that because it seems that we are leaning towards Dartmoor. Not a final decision yet, but almost.
-Dan

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1521 posts

Kevin, could you explain the difference between moors and dales?

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Yes, 'dale' comes from the Old English word for valley. So the Yorkshire Dales is an area of river valleys, separated by hills. This is upland pasture for the most part, with drystone walls separating fields grazed by sheep or cattle. A moor is also upland, but the land is of lower quality, often with acidic peat soils. There may be rivers and streams, but they don't define the area. The vegetation is predominantly heather, bracken (a kind of fern) and gorse. Where there is grazing it will be of a more extensive kind with livestock wandering freely, because the grass is relatively sparse (and here in the New Forest in winter the ponies eat gorse and even holly, both leaves and bark, because there isn't much else). The land isn't rich enough to divide it into fields of pasture.