Hole of Horcum

Saltergate A169 Near Pickering

North Yorkshire's Grand Canyon? It's not too fanciful a thought, as you stand at the top of the Hole of Horcum and gaze across Levisham and the North York Moors. The simply enormous moorland amphitheatre is several hundred feet deep and a mile across, and such a gargantuan natural feature has attracted all sorts of local legends. Some see it as the 'Devil's Punchbowl', while others cling dear to the enduring tale of Wade the Giant, who scooped up the earth here to throw at his wife during an argument. The truth is based in geology, though just as startling – an ongoing process known as 'spring-sapping' has undermined and eroded the land here over thousands of years, making the feature ever larger and ever deeper. It's a magnificent view in any case, easily seen if you park up in the National Park car park at Saltergate, around 8 miles north of Pickering. But what any decent day demands is a walk right around the Hole of Horcum, through heather moorland that bursts into a purple blaze in summer. There's a fabulous 5- to 7-mile circuit from the car park, available as a downloadable walk from the North York Moors National Park website. You can also pick up the walk from Levisham station, which is a stop on the grand old North Yorkshire Moors Railway line.

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