What is so special about the area?
The Howardian Hills National Landscape covers 204 sq km (79 sq miles) of the North Yorkshire countryside, nestled between the North York Moors National Park, the Yorkshire Wolds and the Vale of York. It is a unique and captivating area with its well-wooded rolling countryside, patchwork of arable and pasture fields, scenic villages and historic country houses with classic designed parklands. Its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was confirmed in 1987, in recognition of its national landscape importance. It is part of the National Landscapes network.
An Unusual Landform
The Howardian Hills has a complex geology, dominated by Jurassic limestone. The structure of the bedrock has resulted in steep ridges and varied soil types. During the last ice-age the deeply incised Kirkham Gorge was formed, which is of great scientific importance.
A Richly Varied Landscape
The landform consists of a complex system of ridges, hills and valleys. These are clothed with a mosaic of woodland, rolling arable fields, small-scale pasture, fens, hedges and walls, formal parkland and scattered settlements.
A Landscape Of High Visual Quality
The variety of landform and land use produces a contrast in scale, colour, texture and form. The settings of the historic houses, woodlands, the broad sweeping views and the unspoilt farming landscapes and traditional building styles have a special aesthetic appeal.
An Important Wildlife Resource
The River Derwent, which flows through the eastern Howardian Hills, is nationally significant for its unusual geomorphology and outstanding wild plants and animals. Other habitats of national importance include fens and relatively extensive remnants of Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland.
A Remarkable Heritage
The Howardian Hills has a concentration of archaeological and historic features, ranging from Iron Age earthworks on prominent hilltops to the castles and monasteries of the medieval period. The numerous grand houses and designed landscapes have a dramatic effect upon the scenery.
National Landscapes and National Parks are seen as calm and tranquil areas, where people can relax , escape the rush of modern life and connect with nature. This is becoming increasingly important for both physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Our latest news
A new interpretation panel has been put up at one of the jewels of the Howardian Hills National Landscape – The City of Troy Maze. This is the smallest surviving turf maze in...
An Access for All bridge at the heart of the Howardian Hills National Landscape was celebrated by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary of State as an inspiring...
Helmsley and the Howardian Hills in North Yorkshire were named Most Exciting Food Destination in the inaugural Good Food Guide Awards, held at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in...
Welcome to the Howardian Hills National Landscape. 22nd November 2023 marked the start of a new chapter in the story of designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in...
With their heart shaped faces, caramel back and wings, and pure white underparts the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird. Yet this owl, that has proven so...