One of Yorkshire’s most spectacular features, this incredible natural amphitheatre in the North York Moors is the perfect antidote for those who are used to getting their dose of nature further afield. Usually called the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ the Hole of Horcum walk takes you through the mysterious crater steeped in purple heather as well as myths and legends.
Named The Hole of Horcum, this natural wonder is Yorkshire’s answer to the Grand Canyon. It is 400 feet deep and over half a mile across. The legend behind this huge gouge in the earth is that Wade the Giant was having a furious argument with his wife, and in a fit of rage, he ripped out a handful of earth and tossed it at his wife.
As much as we love a legend, the geological reasoning behind the amazing Hole of Horcum’s natural amphitheatre shape is just as fascinating as the myths.
It was created through a process known as spring-sapping, where water welling up from the hillside erodes the hillside over thousands of years creating a small valley that widens and deepens into this cauldron-like canyon we can see today. The process is still continuing today, so, a few more thousand years and we will have a grand canyon of our own.
To experience the amazing Hole of Horcum walk to its full potential, you can take on a 7-mile walk that takes in the beautiful Levisham Moor and Skelton Tower.
Taking on the Hole of Horcum walk
Unlike most walks, this one starts at the highest elevation and heads down and around to the start point. Along the way, you’ll experience fantastic moorland with its signature heather which is perfect this time of year.
Park up along the A169, where you’ll see a path to the right which you will follow heading around the edge of the ridge following the walking route that heads into the magnificent chasm.
Continue following the signs for Levisham take in the beautiful North York Moors Railway to see the idyllic vintage railway and afterwards go for a well-deserved pint in the Horseshoe Inn.
The Levisham Moor is rich in archaeological remains and is the largest ancient monument in the North York Moors. You can see signs of the Bronze Age to Iron Age hidden in the heather on the moors.
When in Levisham you can divert off the route to see the Skelton Tower if you’d like, after which you can join back with the route that returns along the valley to the Hole of Horcum, climbing back out at Saltergate.
Check out a detailed route here.