a VirtualTourist member from New York State
I am wondering if anyone can help me. I will be travelling around the midlands near Leicester and Bath next year and I was hoping to see the moors. I know most of the moors are north of where I am going but are there any near my base location that I haven't read about? I don't mind driving an hour or so to get to them and I also don't mind travelling to Wales if need be. Thanks for any help! :-) I really want to see the heath/heather!
I've been to England a lot and the only moors I've seen are the Yorkshire moors. They are beautiful and if it's not too far for you to go there, by all means go. However, heather will be in bloom later in the year, more towards the end of the summer. When are you going to be there?
The Yorkshire Moors also came to my mind (mainly because I lived in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, for several years). If you planned to venture that far north - York being an interesting, historical city - then you are also within reach of the coastal towns of Scarborough/Whitby/Robin Hood's Bay. The British TV series 'Heart Beat' was filmed on location around these areas (different names given to some towns though). Sorry, I don't know the Bath or Leicester regions of England.
Near Leicester, eh? You'll be where I am!
The easiest place for you to see moorland is the Peak District National Park....a wonderful, wonderful area:
You'll easily be able to explore the Peak District from 'near Leicester'.
From Bath, you might drive down to the edge of Exmoor:
but it's a longer drive from Bath than the Peak District is from the Leicester area. Both journeys will involve substantial chunks of motorway driving.
Christine is right that you won't see heather in bloom in May, although it will have its leaves.
Whilst you're in the Leicester area, go to Bradgate Park. It was the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey (England's '10-day Queen') but is a huge open 'moorland' type space, with rocky crags and deer (yes, you can get almost right up to them) and bracken and excellent walking:
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Moors are so different from each other! I guess you want to just get an general idea. Or have you read some specific book or seen a specific visual that sparked your imagination? The moorland scenery in the Peak District is so different from either that of Exmoor or North Yorkshire and those two are so different from each other. Then there's Dartmoor. Not to mention the moorland areas of Scotland. Don't know when you are going to be in the area but heather is late summer - the further north you travel, the later the heather.
When you say "moors" do you also include open countryside? The Cotswolds are between Midlands and Bath and offer some lovely scenery, country villages, and places of interest. Leics has already recommended the Peak District which is a beautiful area. The Yorkshire Moors at least 2.5 - 3 hours from Leicester I would say - drive up the M1, join seamlessly to the A1 and turn-off left anywhere past Boroughbridge to get a feel for the area. Personally, I like the area between Bedale and Leyburn, or slightly more to the South - Bolton Abbey. There is a fabulous walk along the River Wharfe to Barden Bridge and back.
The North York moors are indeed lovely but they are a heck of a trek from Leicestershire. Even though the M1/A1 should, in theory, make the journey relatively easy it can be nightmarishly crowded. Same applies to the M5 from Bath down to Exmoor.
The AA routeplanner is the best site to work out routes and estimated journey times (always allow more time than it suggests), because it marks up roadworks, areas of frequent congestion, speed cameras etc:
That is something to very much bear in mind if you are thinking only of a daytrip. If so, you would be much better off visiting the Peak District from Leicestershire (around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on where you start and where you end up). The area around Castleton has some superb cave systems to explore, for example, or you could aim for the Staffordshire moorland ..... which is proper, wild, empty moorland in parts (including high crags such as The Roaches), with the beautiful Manifold Valley and Dovedale too. Leek is a pleasant little town, or you can following narrow, winding lanes high up on the moors to tiny settlements such as Butterton
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(just over the border in Derbyshire).
I think the OP is just exploring options at the moment (though Wales does not have moorland as such, other than the Brecon Beacons I suppose). But the main thing of which she needs to be aware is the time it will take to travel from A to B (as you well know, John!).
Map distances are simply not a reliable indicator, so I do suggest playing around with the AA routeplanner to decide what is feasible from those timings (always adding on a bit more).