North Yorkshire is the largest non-metropolitan county and lieutenancy area in England, covering an area of 8,654 square kilometres (3,341 sq mi). Around 40% of the county is covered by national parks, including most of the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. It is one of four counties in England to hold the name Yorkshire; the three other counties are the East Riding of Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.
Coat of arms
Location of North Yorkshire within England
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
North East (part)
|Established by||Local Government Act 1972|
|Preceded by||North Riding of Yorkshire|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)|
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Police||North Yorkshire Police|
Cleveland Police (part)
From 1974 (via Local Government Act 1972) to 1996, it was wholly within the Yorkshire and the Humber region. Since 1996, parts of the North East England region joined the county non-administratively. York also moved into being a non-administrative part of the county in 1996.
The Middlesbrough built-up area (at 174,700) is the most populous settlement while the York built-up area is second with 152,841, although neither form part of the administrative county, not governed by North Yorkshire County Council. Mid-2016 estimates by the ONS recorded a 602,300 population in the county council area. The most populous settlement in the administrative county (and third in the overall ceremonial county) is Harrogate (at 75,070); followed by Scarborough (at 38,715). Northallerton, the administrative county town, was recorded with a 16,832 population.
North Yorkshire was formed on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972, and covers most of the lands of the historic North Riding, as well as the northern parts of the West Riding as well as northern and eastern East Riding and the former county borough of York.
York became a unitary authority independent of county authority on 1 April 1996. Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton borough south of the River Tees also became part of the county; these were part of Cleveland (county) for twenty two years from 1974 to 1996, and previously in the North Riding before that.
The geology of North Yorkshire is closely reflected in its landscape. Within the county are the North York Moors and most of the Yorkshire Dales; two of eleven areas of countryside within England and Wales to be officially designated as national parks. Between the North York Moors in the east and the Pennine Hills in the west lie the Vales of Mowbray and York. The Tees Lowlands lie to the north of the North York Moors and the Vale of Pickering lies to the south. Its eastern border is the North sea coast. The highest point is Whernside, on the Cumbrian border, at 736 metres (2,415 ft).
The two major rivers in the county are the River Swale and the River Ure. The Swale and the Ure form the River Ouse which flows through York and into the Humber Estuary. The River Tees forms part of the border between North Yorkshire and County Durham and flows from upper Teesdale through Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough and to the coast.
North Yorkshire contains a small section of green belt in the south of the county, just north of Ilkley and Otley along the North and West Yorkshire borders. It extends to the east to cover small communities such as Huby, Kirkby Overblow, and Follifoot before covering the gap between the towns of Harrogate and Knaresborough, helping to keep those towns separate.
The belt meets with the Yorkshire Dales National Park at its southernmost extent, and also forms a border with the Nidderdale AONB. It extends into the western area of Selby district, reaching as far as Tadcaster and Balne. The belt was first drawn up from the 1950s.
The city of York has an independent surrounding belt area affording protections to several outlying settlements such as Haxby and Dunnington, and it too extends into the surrounding districts.
North Yorkshire has a temperate oceanic climate, like most of the UK. However, there are large climate variations within the county. The upper Pennines border on a Subarctic climate, whereas the Vale of Mowbray has an almost Semi-arid climate. Overall, with the county being situated in the east, it receives below-average rainfall for the UK, but the upper Dales of the Pennines are one of the wettest parts of England, where in contrast the driest parts of the Vale of Mowbray are some of the driest areas in the UK. Summer temperatures are above average, at 22 °C, but highs can regularly reach up to 28 °C, with over 30 °C reached in heat waves. Winter temperatures are below average, with average lows of 1 °C. Snow and Fog can be expected depending on location, with the North York Moors and Pennines having snow lying for an average of between 45 and 75 days per year. Sunshine is most plentiful on the coast, receiving an average of 1650 hours a year, and reduces further west in the county, with the Pennines only receiving 1250 hours a year.
|Climate data for North Yorkshire|
|Record high °C (°F)||15|
|Average high °C (°F)||6|
|Average low °C (°F)||1|
|Record low °C (°F)||−14|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||40|
|#||Local authority||2011 census|
|3||Redcar and Cleveland||135,177|
As of early 2021, North Yorkshire had "a county council, responsible for services including adults' and children's social care and maintaining roads, and seven district or borough councils responsible for services like rubbish collection and planning", according to an ITV news item. A plan was formulated in 2020 for a single unitary council but "with no changes to the existing City of York Council". Another proposal was also being considered: "two unitary councils - one in the west ... and one in the east"; the latter would include the City of York. A decision was scheduled to be made after the consultation period closed on 19 April 2021. Because of the pending situation, elections to the county and district councils, scheduled for May 2021, were postponed.
North Yorkshire County Council area is a non-metropolitan county in a cabinet-style council. 72 councillors elect a council leader, who in turn appoints up to 9 councillors to form an executive cabinet. Offices for the county are in County Hall, Northallerton.
The Department for Communities and Local Government planned an abolishment of seven district councils and the county council into a single unitary authority by no later than 1 April 2009. It was rejected on 25 July 2007 retaining the sturcture. In 2020 the government announced another structural review with intention of unitary local governance across the county council and York with an overarching elected executive mayor.
Parts of the county are administered independently of the county council, having their own unitary authorities: the City of York Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. Uniquely for England, the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees is split between two counties: North Yorkshire and County Durham.
In large areas of North Yorkshire, agriculture is the primary source of employment; some 85% of the county is considered to be "rural or super sparse".
Other sectors in 2019 included some manufacturing, the provision of accommodation and meals (primarily for tourists) which accounted for 19 per cent of all jobs and food manufacturing which employed 11 per cent of workers; a few people are involved in forestry and fishing in 2019. The average weekly earnings in 2018 were £531. Some 15% of workers declared themselves as self-employed. One report in late 2020 stated that "North Yorkshire has a relatively healthy and diverse economy which largely mirrors the national picture in terms of productivity and jobs.
Mineral extraction and power generation are also sectors of the economy as is high technology.
Tourism is a significant contributor to the economy. A study of visitors between 2013 and 2015 indicated that the Borough of Scarborough, including Filey, Whitby and parts of the North York Moors National Park, received 1.4m trips per year on average. A 2016 report by the National Park however, provides more impressive numbers: the park area gets 7.93 million visitors annually, generating £647 million and supporting 10,900 full-time equivalent jobs.
The Yorkshire Dales have also attracted many visitors. In 2016, there were 3.8 million visits to the National Park including 0.48 million who stayed at least one night. The parks service estimates that this contributed £252 million to the economy and provided 3,583 full-time equivalent jobs. The wider Yorkshire Dales area received 9.7 million visitors who contributed £644 million to the economy. The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales are among England’s best known destinations.
The North Yorkshire County Council operates many small tourist information offices in rural areas. Nature or eco-tourism has become an important factor. In addition to hiking, some areas attract tourists with wildlife, although the latter aspect has yet to be fully developed. Another agency promoting tourism to the region is the Herriot Country Tourism Group which covers the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales as well as communities such as Thirsk, Northallerton, Easingwold, Great Ayton & Bedale.
The historic towns of York and Harrogate are the top tourist destinations in the geographic area. York attracts millions of visitors, some of whom may be enticed to continue northward to other areas of North Yorkshire. A 2014 report, based on 2012 data, stated that York alone receives 6.9 million visitors annually; they contribute £564 million to the economy and support over 19,000 jobs. In the 2017 Condé Nast Traveller survey of readers, York rated 12th among The 15 Best Cities in the UK for visitors. In a 2020 Condé Nast Traveller report, York rated as the sixth best among ten "urban destinations [in the UK} that scored the highest marks when it comes to ... nightlife, restaurants and friendliness".
During February 2020 to January 2021, the average property in North Yorkshire county sold for £240,000, up by £8100 over the previous 12 months. By comparison, the average for England and Wales was £314,000. In certain communities of North Yorkshire, however, house prices were higher than average for the county, as of early 2021: Harrogate (average value: £376,195), Knaresborough (£375,625), Tadcaster (£314,278), Leyburn (£309,165) and Ripon (£299,998), for example.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added for North Yorkshire at current basic prices with figures in millions of British pounds sterling.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added[Notes 1]||Agriculture[Notes 2]||Industry[Notes 3]||Services[Notes 4]|
Effects of the pandemic
Unemployment in the county was traditionally low in recent years, but the lockdowns and travel restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on the economy during much of 2020 and into 2021. The UK government said in early February 2021 that it was planning "unprecedented levels of support to help businesses [in the UK] survive the crisis". A report published on 1 March 2021 stated that the unemployment rate in North Yorkshire had "risen to the highest level in nearly 5 years - with under 25s often bearing the worst of job losses".
York experienced high unemployment during lockdown periods. One analysis (by the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership) predicted in August 2020 that "as many as 13,835 jobs in York will be lost in the scenario considered most likely, taking the city’s unemployment rate to 14.5%". Some critics claimed that part of the problem was caused by "over-reliance on the booming tourism industry at the expense of a long-term economic plan". A report in mid June 2020 stated that unemployment had risen 114 per cent over the previous year because of restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.
Tourism in the county was expected to increase after the restrictions imposed due the pandemic are relaxed. One reason for the expected increase is the airing of All Creatures Great and Small, a TV series about the vet James Herriot, based on a successful series of books; it was largely filmed within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The show aired in the UK in September 2020 and in the US in early 2021. One source stated that visits to Yorkshire websites had increased significantly by late September 2020.
Aysgarth Falls, a popular destination for hikers, can also be reached by a short walk from the main road.
Leyburn is a gateway town to the Yorkshire Dales, offering tourists a range of Hotels, Pubs and Shops.
White Scar Cave is the largest cave in the United Kingdom.
Built in the 7th-Century, the ruins of Whitby Abbey still stand today.
Settlements and parishes
Settlements in italics lie within one of four unitary authorities.
|Local authority||Defined as|
|2||York||152,841[b]||City of York||City|
|5||Redcar||37,073[e]||Redcar and Cleveland||Town|
|7||Ingleby Barwick||20,378||Stockton-on-Tees (south)||Town|
|8||Saltburn, Marske and New Marske||19,134||Redcar and Cleveland||Civil Parish|
|9||Guisborough||17,777||Redcar and Cleveland||Town|
|15||Skelton and Brotton||12,848||Redcar and Cleveland||Civil Parish|
|17||Haxby||8,428||City of York||Town|
|20||Loftus||7,988||Redcar and Cleveland||Town|
- Based on its built-up area subdivision; including areas outside the council area.
- Based on its built-up area, excluding outlying towns and villages within the council area.
- Unparished built-up area subdivision accurately corresponds to town boundaries; no outlying areas.
- No population count measured the town independently at the 2011 census. Including parishes equates to 61,749, excluding outlying parishes of Eastfield, Osgodby, Cayton, Newby, Scalby and part of Seamer. equates to total.
- Unparished built-up area subdivision accurately corresponds to town boundaries; no outlying areas.
- Built-up area subdivision accurately corresponds to town boundaries; no outlying areas.
- County town
They are also multiple smaller settlements of North Yorkshire, italics denote a place in one of the unitary authorities apart from settlements of Middlesbrough:
- Acomb, Alne, Ampleforth, Appleton-le-Moors, Appleton Wiske
- Bedale, Bishopthorpe, Bolton, Boroughbridge, Borrowby (Hambleton), Borrowby (Scarborough), Brompton (Hambleton), Brotton, Buckden
- Castleton, Catterick, Catterick Garrison, Cawood, Clapham, Conistone, Copmanthorpe
- Dalton (Hambleton), Dalton (Richmondshire), Danby Wiske, Drax, Dunnington
- Easby, Easingwold, Egton, Elvington, Eston, Ebberston
- Filey, Folkton, Flixton
- Giggleswick, Gilling East, Gilling West, Glasshouses, Goathland, Grangetown, Grassington, Great Ayton, Grosmont, Guisborough, Ganton, Glaisdale
- Harrogate, Hawes, Haxby, Hebden, Helmsley, High Bentham, Hornton, Hunmanby, Huntington, Hutton Rudby
- Ingleton, Ingleby Arncliffe, Ingleby Barwick, Ingleby Greenhow
- Kettlewell, Kilnsey, Kirkbymoorside, Knaresborough
- Malham, Malton, Masham, Marske, Middleham, Middlesbrough, Middleton, Ryedale, Muston
- New Marske, Normanby, Northallerton, Norton, North Grimston,
- Osmotherley, Ormesby
- Pateley Bridge, Pickering
- Raskelf, Redcar, Reeth, Riccall, Richmond, Rievaulx, Rillington, Ripon, Robin Hood's Bay, Romanby
- Saltburn, Scagglethorpe, Scampston, Scarborough, Scorton, Selby, Settle, Sherburn, Sheriff Hutton, Shipton, Skelton (Redcar and Cleveland), Skelton (Richmondshire), Skelton (York), Skinningrove, Skipton, Sowerby, Stillington, Stokesley, Streetlam, Sutton, Swinton
- Tadcaster, Teesville, Thirsk, Thornaby
- Whale Hill, Wheldrake, Whitby, Westow, Wintringham
- Yarm, York, Yedingham
Places of interest
|Accessible open space|
|Museum (free/not free)|
Places of interest in italics lie are in the non-administrative county.
News and media
The county is served by BBC North East and Cumbria, and for more southerly parts of the county BBC Yorkshire. Yorkshire Television and Tyne Tees Television are also received in most areas of the county, Settle and the Western part of the Craven area is served by BBC North West and Granada Television. BBC Tees is broadcast to northern parts of the county, whilst BBC Radio York is broadcast more widely. BBC Radio Leeds broadcasts to southern parts of the county.
The East Coast Main Line (ECML) bisects the county stopping at Northallerton, Thirsk and York. Passenger services on the ECML within the county are operated by London North Eastern Railway, TransPennine Express and Grand Central. TransPennine Express run services on the York to Scarborough Line and the Northallerton–Eaglescliffe Line (for Middlesbrough) that both branch off the ECML.
Northern operates the remaining lines in the county, including commuter services on the Harrogate Line, Airedale Line and York & Selby Lines, of which the former two are covered by the Metro ticketing area. Remaining branch lines operated by Northern include the Yorkshire Coast Line from Scarborough to Hull, the Hull to York Line via Selby, the Tees Valley Line from Darlington to Saltburn and the Esk Valley Line from Middlesbrough to Whitby. Last but certainly not least, the Settle-Carlisle Line runs through the west of the county, with services again operated by Northern.
The county suffered badly under the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. Places such as Richmond, Ripon, Tadcaster, Helmsley, Pickering and the Wensleydale communities lost their passenger services. Notable lines closed were the Scarborough and Whitby Railway, Malton and Driffield Railway and the secondary main line between Northallerton and Harrogate via Ripon. Heritage railways within North Yorkshire include: the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, between Pickering and Grosmont, which opened in 1973; the Derwent Valley Light Railway near York; and the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. The Wensleydale Railway, which started operating in 2003, runs services between Leeming Bar and Redmire along a former freight-only line. The medium-term aim is to operate into Northallerton station on the ECML, once an agreement can be reached with Network Rail. In the longer term, the aim is to reinstate the full line west via Hawes to Garsdale on the Settle-Carlisle line.
The main road through the county is the north–south A1(M), which has gradually been upgraded in sections to motorway status since the early 1990s. The only other motorways within the county are the short A66(M) near Darlington and a small stretch of the M62 motorway close to Eggborough. The other nationally maintained trunk routes are the A168/A19, A64, A66 and A174.
Coach and bus
Long-distance coach services are operated by National Express and Megabus. Local bus service operators include Arriva Yorkshire, Harrogate Bus Company, Scarborough & District (East Yorkshire Motor Services), Yorkshire Coastliner, First York and the local Dales & District.
North Yorkshire has multiple association football clubs:
Middlesbrough play in the Championship. Harrogate Town play in the EFL League Two. York City who play in the National League North and finished 11th during the 2017-18 National League season. Whitby Town FC have reached the FA Cup first round seven times and have played the likes of Hull City, Wigan and Plymouth Argyle; they currently play in the Evo-Stik Premier League.
|National League 2 North||Harrogate||Rudding Lane||Harrogate|
|Wharfedale||The Avenue||2,000||Threshfield, Craven|
|North Premier||York||Clifton Park||York, North Yorkshire|
|North 1 East||Malton & Norton||The Gannock||Malton|
|Scarborough||Silver Royd||4,500 (425 seats)||Scalby, Scarborough|
|Yorkshire 1||Selby||Sandhill Lane||Selby|
|Durham & Northumberland 1||Acklam||Talbot Park||Acklam, Middlesbrough|
|Middlesbrough||Acklam Park||5,000 (159 seats)||Acklam, Middlesbrough|
The leading rugby union teams in the county include Wharfedale RUFC, Harrogate RUFC, but teams also include Middlesbrough RUFC and Acklam RUFC who play their league games in Durham/Northumberland 1. York City Knights, previously known as York F.C., are a rugby league team who play in the Rugby League Championships.
North Yorkshire has multiple racecourses at: Catterick Bridge, Redcar, Ripon, Thirsk and York. It also has one motor racing circuit, Croft Circuit; the circuit holds meetings of the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbike and Pickup Truck Racing race series and one Motorcycle Racing Circuit at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough.
- Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
- includes hunting and forestry
- includes energy and construction
- includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
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- North Yorkshire County Council
- BBC North Yorkshire – North Yorkshire features, videos and pictures from the BBC
- Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust
- North Yorkshire at Curlie
- Images of North Yorkshire at the English Heritage Archive
- Yorkshire Coast Radio