Our Reserves

Staying Safe


County Durham weather can be unpredictable and walking on the reserves can present their own challenges.
Your safety is always your responsibility.
Stay safe by following a few simple rules and bear in mind the following advice.

Weather, clothing and route conditions

  • Hill fog on the moors can descend even in summer, reducing visibility to a few metres. Moorland paths can be rough and uneven under foot. Woodland and forest paths can be wet, muddy and slippery at any time of year. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, even on the shortest walks.
  • In dry weather there is a higher risk of moorland fires, started either accidentally or through carelessness. Pay attention to local notices about fire risks, including possible path closures. All moorland is closed at times of exceptional fire risk.
  • Winter walking presents other challenges, especially on the higher Lintzgarth reserve. Make sure you have additional warm and waterproof clothing and allow enough daylight time to complete your walk.


We always recommend that you take a map – you can buy Ordnance Survey maps of the North York Moors (OL26 and OL27) from our National Park Centres at Sutton Bank and Danby, and other local outlets.

Carry a map and compass that you know how to use. Don't rely on your GPs or handheld SatNav device alone, as batteries can fail and signals can be lost

Mobile phone reception is patchy in the North York Moors – please don't rely on your phone to get you out of trouble as many areas have no signal coverage

Livestock and animals

Please read our guidance on walking with dogs. Move carefully and quietly through fields with livestock, particularly in spring when animals are rearing their young. Cattle may react to your presence, especially if calves are present. It's best to walk around the herd if possible (you can nearly always find another way to join your route), and don't get between cows and their calves. You may be lucky enough to see an adder, especially in spring when they bask in the sun on paths and walls. However, at this time of year they are sluggish and cannot always move quickly away from people and dogs. Adder bites can be serious, so if bitten seek medical attention. If a dog is bitten, it should be picked up and taken to a vet.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to people by ticks. You can pick up ticks by brushing through tall vegetation like bracken, but you can minimise the risk by wearing long-sleeved shirts and leaving no gap between footwear and trousers. Insect repellent may also help. If you find a tick on your skin, do not try to squeeze, twist or crush the tick with your fingers – remove it with a proper tick-removal tool or seek medical advice. Never use a lit cigarette end, a match head or essential oils to try and force the tick out. Ticks are very small and their bites can go unnoticed at first. A common symptom of Lyme disease is a red circular rash (the so-called ‘bull’s eye’ rash) appearing anywhere on the body. For more information see the advice offered on the NHS Choices and Lyme Disease UK websites, and download the information sheet from

Other issues

It's important to avoid transferring soil and other organic matter (including leaves) from one place to another in the National Park, to minimise the risk of spreading habitat infections like ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea). Always follow any advice posted on signs and keep up-to-date with developments on our website.