The Hole of Horcum is one the most impressive sights and walks in the North York Moors. Situated in the Tabular Hills near Levisham, this huge natural amphitheatre is perfect for a circular walk that will fill the senses.
This is one of those unique 5 mile circular walks where you start at the highest point and head downward to the bottom before finishing with a small climb back to the start point.
The Hole of Horcum is a great wide hole in the land, created over millennia from what started with a narrow beck valley and is now a vast hole on the landscape, ready to be explored.
Before we get stuck into the walk, let’s take a look at some background info.
How was The Hole of Horcum Formed?
120 m (400 ft) deep and approximately 1.2 km (3/4 mile) across. The photos you see do not do it justice to be honest.
It was formed over thousands of years from when it was once a narrow little valley for a beck. A process called spring-sapping is where water wells up in the hillsides and erodes, very gradually, the top soils beside the valley which gradually, in turn, widens the valley.
Over those thousands of years, the once narrow valley has grown into this huge, wide cauldron of a wide valley.
The Legend Of How It Was Formed
There are many stories attached to Wade The Giant in Yorkshire and he appears again here at The Hole of Horcum. It is said that Wade scooped up the earth from here to throw at his wife Bell.
He is also said to have missed and it landed to form the hill Blakey Topping about a mile away.
Parking at the start of the walk is on the the A169 at Saltergate Car Park. Postcode YO18 7NR.
Starting The Walk
Out of the car park, take care and walk across the A169. After crossing the road turn right along the well defined path.
This is where you will start to get the huge panoramic view from above of the Hole of Horcum.
The path takes you around the rim of the top of the hole, so to speak, so the view remains impressive the whole way through, that is for sure.
You will come to a gate that gives you options for different paths, but for this walk stay straight on ahead once you have passed through.
The next 2 miles are fabulous. Walking over the heather filled Levisham Moor, keeping great views over the Hole of Horcum to your left.
This walk absolutely starts with a bang.
The colours around here are wonderful. Especially on a sunny day. The blue skies, rich green grass and the purples and pinks of the heather.
The dogs were in their element. Be mindful, however, that there may be cattles grazing around here. In this case we wandered past some Highland Cattle lazing in the sun amongst the heather.
Eventually you come to a signpost with options. The option to turn left takes you down to the Hole of Horcum.
This is where the heather moorland underfoot gradually changes to trees and grass.
The variety and contrast from the first section of the walk is plain to see as you head down gradually, by a stream, towards the far end and bottom of the ‘hole’ from where you started.
Keep looking out for Highland Cattle lurking from behind trees! Or acting like doormen on the path.
Into The Hole of Horcum
At the bottom of the slop, the stream that was on your left meets the rivet and then you turn left to head into the Hole of Horcum itself.
The path passes through wide open fields and meadows and the further you walk, the more you feel you are in the giant bowl you were looking down into from above.
The variety of views and terrain cannot be underestimated on this walk.
The path is clear and you literally walk up the middle of The Hole of Horcum.
As you get to the centre of it, you come across an old farmstead that is empty and ruinous today but in its heyday, what a place to have lived and worked!
Built in 1811 it was occupied right up until 1966 where it has been left empty, a sign of times and work gone by.
It is around here that many choose to sit and picnic or to enjoy the weather and the glorious views around.
Climb Up To The Finish
Up ahead along the path you can see the way out of the ‘hole’ to the finish where you started.
What goes down must go up for sure, but it is not a huge climb. Plus you get more of those lovely views when you pause to look back. A good excuse to keep resting.
At the top you will find you are back at the gate near where you started. Turn right, pass through the gate and follow the path back to the car park.
More often than not there is a great refreshment van situated in the car park so a well deserved coffee is in order.