The Hole of Horcum: The natural wonder that's known as 'Yorkshire's Grand Canyon'

The Hole of Horcum
The Hole of Horcum
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Looking into the Hole of Horcum is to experience one of the most inspiring views in Yorkshire.

This incredible natural wonder is steeped in myth and legend - but its formation is due to a fascinating geological quirk.

Walkers enjoy views of the Hole

Walkers enjoy views of the Hole

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The Hole is a section of the Levisham Beck valley in the Tabular Hills within the boundaries of the North York Moors National Park It's 120 metres deep and over 1.2km across.

These dimensions give it a 'Devil's Punchbowl' appearance and the Hole functions as a natural ampitheatre.

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The Hole looks glorious when the heather is in bloom

The Hole looks glorious when the heather is in bloom

Local legend has it that the Hole was formed when Wade the Giant scooped up a handful of earth from the moors to throw at his wife during an argument.

It was actually created by a process known as spring-sapping, whereby water welling up from the hillside gradually undermined the upper slopes. The rocks became eroded and a small valley widened and deepened into the cauldron-like canyon we can see today.

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There's plenty to see in the hills nearby, as several popular walking routes pass the Hole. Horcum Dyke is a Bronze Age boundary wall above the Hole from where you can look down into it.

There are also other ancient archaeological remains scattered across Levisham Moor, including barrows, mounds and ditches that were once burial sites, farms and fields.

A monastic sheep farm was stood at the head of Dundale Griff and the foundations of the stone buildings can still be seen.

A later monument is Skelton Tower, built in 1830 as an overnight stopping place for shooting parties.

You can also see the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from the tower's vantage point, and Levisham Station is served by steam trains on the line.