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Woodland Walks Near Whitby

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These woodland walks near Whitby are a fabulous and free way to spend time outdoors. You can take a picnic, follow trails, and even stumble upon a waterfall.

Nothing is as relaxing and enjoyable as a woodland walk, whether you want time to connect with family and friends or some much-needed solo time in nature. Plus, forests are vital for the future of our planet.


Forests improve the health and well-being of everyone! They store carbon, reduce flooding, and provide the opportunity to get outside for people of all ages and abilities. There is plenty of beautiful woodland not far from Whitby to explore. Here is a selection of woodland walks near Whitby for you to pick from.

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Dalby Forest 

Let’s start with Dalby Forest, over 8,500 acres of views, hiking, running, cycling paths, Gruffalo trails, and much more.

Dalby Forest

Cared for by Forestry England. For more than a century, Forestry England has moulded and preserved over 1,500 forests across our nation for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Dalby Forest is teeming with wildlife species of international significance and is also recognised as a Dark Sky Discovery Site. It offers the opportunity to witness the Milky Way with the naked eye. Their stargazing partner, AstroDog, offers events that are a brilliant way to learn more about the night sky.

Go Ape Dalby Forest child on rope swing.

For the even more adventurous, visit Dalby Activity Centre, or challenge yourself by swinging through the trees on the Go Ape course.

The forest is absolutely huge! And it’s a great place to visit with the family. With so many activities and things to do there, you can please all ages and abilities. When you visit, we promise you will want to spend much more time there than just a day.

If you want to extend your stay, click here for Dalby Forest camping options.

Dalby Forest, YO13

Dalby Forest family-friendly walking trail 

The Ellerburn Trail at Dalby Forest runs alongside the river. It is perfect for individuals with mobility issues and families with young children or pushchairs, as it features a flat and level multi-user pathway. Starting at the Dalby Courtyard near the Visitor Centre, you can take a detour to Ellerburn Pond and Bird Hide, passing the entrance to the bat hibernaculum. In this artificial cave, bats hibernate during the winter.

You can find so many more walking routes in Dalby Forest here.

Sneaton Forest and Falling Foss

Sneaton Forest, located about five miles south of Whitby, is a blend of old and new. The southern part of the forest predominantly consists of conifers planted in the 1960s, while the northern area features ancient broad-leaved woodland nestled among steep valleys.

Toddler playing in Maybeck near Sneaton Forest.

If you visit Sneaton Forest, you can also discover the breathtaking Falling Foss waterfall, the historic Hermitage—a large boulder carved out to create a shelter in the 1700s—and the pretty Maybeck picnic place.

For those looking for a hot drink or food, Falling Foss Tea Garden is the perfect stop. This charming little cafe offers picnic-style seating beside the waterfall, but remember that picnic food is not allowed on their seating.

Toddler looking out at Falling Foss Waterfall.

Sneaton Forest offers a variety of paths that wind through the woodland and lovely picnic spots. It is ideal for exploring if you are extending a walk from Falling Foss.

Foss Ln, North Yorkshire YO22

Maybeck to Falling Foss Circular Route

This short woodland route takes around an hour and a half to complete. You can begin this route by either parking at May Beck or Falling Foss car park, both are free. May Beck car park is smaller but we find that it is often a quieter option. This route consists mostly of woodland paths which are often uneven and can be slippy in wet weather. 

Start at the car park entrance and turn right instead of crossing the bridge. Then, go uphill on a gravel track and immediately turn right onto a level track. Walk 25 yards and then turn left up the stone steps. Follow the winding path through the bracken. Go through a gate, turn right, and follow the path into the woodland. Keep straight on this path. When you reach a junction with a stony track, turn right downhill. At the bottom, turn left to cross a footbridge. Bear right and pass Falling Foss Tea Garden, keeping the fence to your left.

Exercise caution if you descend to the waterfall, as it can be very slippery. This route is not recommended for children. After passing through a gap in an old low wall, you will reach a signpost for the Falling Foss car park. Turn right here and head uphill through the woodland. Another gap in a wall at the top will lead you to bear right. Take the track at the far end of the car park and follow the path down through the woodland. A path will join from the right, and you should continue left to cross a footbridge. Proceed through the woodland alongside May Beck. Finally, ascend the steps and pass through a gate. Continue ahead along the beck to return to the car park.

Mulgrave Woods

Mulgrave Woods is situated in the valley below the village of Lythe. The beautiful estate provides a lovely setting for a leisurely family stroll or a longer circular walk. The Mulgrave Estate owns and manages the woodland and has established several trails throughout the area.

Mulgrave Woods in Autumn.

One of the gems you will come across whilst visiting is the ruins of Mulgrave Castle. This is also a great place to get a panoramic view of the valley.

You can also access the formal gardens at Mulgrave at certain times of the year. They are beautiful and well worth a visit. You can find garden open days on the Mulgrave Estate website.

Mulgrave Woods is only open to the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and is closed during May.

Mulgrave Estate, Whitby Y021

Sandsend to Mulgave Circular Walk

The best way to get to Mulgrave Woods is via the Sandsend to Mulgrave 4-mile (6.4km) circular walk. The walk begins at Sandsend on the coast, with a convenient car park west of the beach. From there, the westward path follows the East Bow Beck for about a mile until reaching Mulgrave Castle. 

After exploring the castle, the route continues alongside Sandsend Beck, returning to the car park. For those seeking a longer walk, Sandsend is part of the Cleveland Way, offering a dramatic coastal route with abundant wildlife. Follow the path east to reach Whitby or head north to Runswick Bay.

 You can follow the full route here.

Egton and Glaisdale

Egton is a lovely place to visit. It is home to the famous annual Egton Show, one of the country’s largest agricultural shows. Egton Bridge is a nearby hamlet on the River Esk, which runs through the heart of the North York Moors. The stone bridge that crosses the Esk here was rebuilt in 1992 after a flood destroyed it in the 1930s. The area around Egton Bridge is popular with hikers and walkers, as it offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Egton, Whitby Y021

Beggars Bridge.

Glaisdale and Egton Bridge Circular Walk

There is a moderate Glaisdale and Egton Bridge Circular Walk. It is 5 miles (8km) and takes roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete. This walk is highlighted by the stunning Beggar’s Bridge and the ancient stone steps that wind through the enchanting bluebell woods near both settlements. 

Girl on Beggars Bridge.

The walk mainly follows field paths and woodland tracks, with some caution advised on the occasionally slippery stone trods. Additionally, a few miles of walking are on minor roads, so please be vigilant. Finally, expect to see farm animals on this walk, so keeping your dogs on a short lead is best. 

Click here for the full route.

With every step, we find a new appreciation for the beautiful outdoor areas so close to Whitby. They are maintained so well, and we are fortunate to visit them often, free of charge. Please leave every outdoor space as you find it and enjoy these woodland walks in Whitby. 

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