Dalby the Great Yorkshire Forest is situated on the southern slopes of the North York Moors and offers over 8,000 acres of woodland to explore.

Glacial valleys to the south create a unique ‘rigg and dale’ landscape, while the north of the forest sits on an upland plateau. It has become one of the Forestry Commission’s most popular leisure forests.

Of everything on offer, off-road biking is Dalby’s specialty. Visitors can hire bikes and use the 55 miles of cycle trails to explore the forest.


Just outside the Forest, on the adjacent moor, you can visit the Bridestones.

A series of perfectly shaped sandstone blocks and buttresses. Each stone has ended up perched above the heather on a undercut pedestal.

They are in the care of the National Trust, who manage this area as a nature reserve. Road access is via Dalby Forest.

Images by Cool Places Britain


You can drive to Dalby Forest from Thornton-le-Dale, the nearest village. Keep in mind that you need to pay toll to drive through the forest.

Thornton-le-Dale has regularly been voted the most beautiful village in Yorkshire, so it is well worth a visit.

The combination of village green, a sparkling beck with 15 bridges and the 17th century almshouses attract many visitors. They all flock to Beck Isle cottage, the most photographed building in the country.


With twelve waymarked walking trails to choose from, Dalby Forest can also be enjoyed by walkers. These start from several of the car parks and vary in length.

We actually walked from the Hole of Horcum to the Bridestones, taking in two famous North Yorkshire Moors landmarks in one go.

This 8-mile circular starts at the car park at the Hole of Horcum and it provides great views east and west across the moors and across Dalby Forest.

If you prefer a shorter walk, then you might enjoy a stroll from Thornton-le-Dale towards Ellerburn.

This 2-mile circular walk follows riverside field paths to the hamlet of Ellerburn and its ancient church, before returning along a minor road to Thornton le Dale.

Cool Places to Explore

North York Moors Railway | Whitby | Robin Hood’s Bay | Rievaulx Abbey | Byland Abbey | Howardian Hills AONB.