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Howardian Hills - Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The landscape of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has evolved since prehistoric times to create a distinctive and exceptional area characterised by soft, rolling hills, with a tapestry of arable fields, pasture and woodlands. Peaceful and unique, the landscape draws you in to explore and discover.
The Howardian Hills AONB is a farmed landscape where wildlife is plentiful and traditional ways of life are maintained. Woodland is a defining feature of the landscape and designed parkland and ancient trees create a strong sense of place. The River Derwent, which cuts through the Howardian Hills at the spectacular Kirkham Gorge in the east, is one of the most pristine river systems in the north of England and supports a unique collection of plants and animals.
The Howardian Hills take their name from the landowners whose great mansion still dominates this area. Castle Howard is a spectacular 18th century palace, started by Vanbrugh in 1699, with important collections of furniture, statuary, paintings and porcelain and 1000 acres of parkland.
There are several large country houses and estates, most of which can be visited, as well as beautiful vibrant villages dotted throughout the Howardian Hills, offering food, accommodation and an excellent base for walking, riding and cycling. Many villages are estate villages such as Hovingham which has pubs, tea rooms and a monthly farmers market.
Picturesque villages include Slingsby, with a central green and dancing around the maypole every Mayday, and Hovingham. Village cricket is still played in the grounds of Hovingham Hall, which is the ancestral home of H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent.
The Howardian Hills have become a mecca for road cyclists, due to the gently undulating nature of the terrain. The Ryedale Grand Prix is a 93m British Cycling Elite Road Series race, held almost wholly within the AONB. For cycle tourists and day-riders, the Sustrans National Route 65 crosses the western end of the AONB. The National Byway runs the length of the Howardian Hills from east to west, with two loops off at Malton and Easingwold, which give a good introduction to the AONB and surrounding area.
Howardian Hills Bike Rides
Cycle the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Malton in North Yorkshire. Three OS-mapped circular day rides on back-roads and country lanes, many of which are accessible by train from Malton Station.
Ride One - Castle Howard and Nunnington Hall
Ride Two - Over the River Rye
Ride Three - Leavening Brow and Kirkham Gorge
Downloadable routes and more information on cycling.
This leaflet gives you an overview of the walking, cycling and mountain biking opportunities in the Howardian Hills. The guide also provides information about visiting Castle Howard, Nunnington Hall and The Yorkshire Arboretum - all of which have great walker/cyclist friendly cafes and free parking.
For more information on the Howardian Hills, visit the official Howardian Hills website.