For my 33rd birthday, in late spring, Alex (my boyfriend) and I decided to visit somewhere we’d never been, The Wainstones (Walk) in The North York Moors. Being a Londoner, and visiting York, I knew I to go on a trek and surround myself with nature.
To be honest I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful and challenging walk. It is eight-miles (13km) through rolling hills and a faint smell of fire in the air, reminding.us to reconnect with the elements. It takes roughly 5 and a half hours to complete, which will make you feel like you’ve had a good work out.
A walk for Solitude
Having walked the popular Kinder Scout in the Peak District a year ago Wainstones was a nice change. There were moments on the walk where we felt actually alone. I mean I looked around and I couldn’t see a soul. I very rarely feel the level of “solitude” but it was such a peaceful feeling.
We walked in late March so the weather was very windy but it was totally worth it. In fact, it was refreshing; if anything the wind made the walk better as it smacked me in the face and forced me to live in the moment.
This walk will lead you through the moors, up and down hills and to the Wainstones. According to, www.northyorkmoors.org.uk, the ‘The Saxon word ‘Wanian’ meant ‘to lament’ or ‘grieve’. Perhaps the Wainstones once had a special significance as a place to mourn the dead.’
I can see why this would be a place to seek peace with your thoughts, as you remember your loved ones, as you do feel a connection to nature, along with a sense of calm.
Plan Your Trip
The Wainstones stand out in landscape and when Alex, I finally reached them we would’ve loved to have spent more time exploring, but we started our walk too late in the day, so by the time we arrived at Chop Gate car park, we literally had the exact amount of time to complete the walk (5 and half hours) before the sunset.
I was so nervous about getting lost in dark or I should say, the pitch black of the Moors; especially as we’d just watch the film, American Werewolf in London! Haha! So yeah, allow time for breaks along the way.
How easy is the walk?
- The Map/ Instructions
The route is easy to follow and is basically one big circle, although towards the end of the walk, when we were tired (we walked without taking a break) I think it would’ve been easy to take a wrong turn.
Some advice when following the directions
I had pulled a muscle my leg so the walk was a little exhausting towards the end but overall the link above will take you to the best instructions for a long walk. They are so easy to follow but I will tell you where I was a little confused at times, for example:
The instructions below are from the downloadable PDF on the North York Moors website:
- Instruction 10: “Very shortly after the gate at the top of the hill, bear right off the main route along the signposted bridleway.”
To me, it didn’t feel very shortly after the gate, so I wasn’t sure if I’d made a mistake, but keep going and you’ll see the signposted bridleway.
- Instruction 11: “Cross the stream gully and bear right along the path.”
I was looking for a stream in the stream gully, but when I walked it was just a gully.
- Instruction 14: “At a junction of tracks, turn right down the path, which leads, off Urra Moor. Go through the gate and continue down the path.”
There were what looked like a few junction tracks, but don’t turn right at what looks like the first junction, it’ll be the second junction you need.
AND when Alex and I arrived at the gate, the gate was locked. We thought maybe we had taken a wrong turn.
After checking Google maps on our phone, it turned out we hadn’t, (thank God, my legs were so tired) We climbed over the gate as there was no way of opening it.
It is worth remembering that if you aren’t able-bodied this walk might be quite challenging! Especially with unanticipated climbing involved.
- The route is easy to follow either along noticeably clear tracks through the moorland heathers, or along stone paths/ steps.
- It wasn’t too muddy or boggy when I walked in late March but I can imagine it can get very wet, especially on along the moors, which you will reach on the second part of your walk.
- The route is undulating and you will be mostly walking up and downhills. You will be walking along stone paths some of the route which is undoubtedly easy to follow.
- I hadn’t read all the warnings on the PDF print out I had with me (Linked above and below), so when I reached the Wainstones and the Hasty Bank, I wasn’t expecting steep ascents/descents or too literally scramble on my knees in order to feel safe along sections of the route. It was fun though.
- If you are uneasy on your feet I would be very cautious.
- According to the website weather conditions can change quickly and visibility can be poor. I have been on walks like where it suddenly became super foggy.
- I think it is important to have a map with you or clear directions.
- Alternatively, you could use your phone’s GPS. I had a signal most of the time.
The Map and Directions
If you are interested in this walk I’ve posted a link to the website where you will find a map and the walking instructions I followed:
The Wainstones walk is beautiful and totally worth the effort. BUT make sure you take the time to plan your walk.
Leave enough time to take breaks. It is important to remember, you don’t want to have to worry about it getting dark and you know… werewolves and stuff. Haha!…
OK seriously though, there are birds that nest in the heathers and then suddenly jump out, squawk and then fly into the sky, it’s scary stuff!….
So, make sure you bring plenty of water and healthy snacks, because well, who doesn’t like snacking? Or a nice little picnic on the route. And take care along some sections of the walk, (as mentioned above).
If you have already completed this walk I’d like to hear your thoughts on it, below. I personally would really love to do this walk again.
Have you already completed this walk?
What did you think?
Did you like it?
Was it challenging?
How long did it take you to complete the circuit, including breaks?
How long were your breaks?
Would you walk The Wainstones Walk Again?
What did you think of the Wainstones?