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Compared with the rolling, green Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors' wide expanses of heather moorland can seem wild and desolate, but that is part of their charm.

As well as providing dramatic walking country, the area is ringed by traditional market towns and pretty villages that make good bases for exploring the area. The beautiful ruins of Rievaulx Abbey and Bylands Abbey are also within the park boundaries.

A popular steam railway ride cuts through the park from the market town of Pickering to the coast, and includes a stop at Goathland, the setting for the well-loved 1990s television programme, Hearbeat, and more recently used as Hogsmeade station in Harry Potter.