North Yorkshire - England's Largest County

With a land area of over 8000 sq km (3000 sq miles) North Yorkshire has a population of around 600,000 (2011) excluding the city of York.

Administratively North Yorkshire was split into seven districts Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby. The City of York has been a unitary authority since 1996 and has a population of about 198,000.

The 7 district councils were replaced by a single council - North Yorkshire Council- on 1st April 2023. The City York will remain separate.

North Yorkshire almost spans mainland England from coast to coast - the North Sea coast in the East to the western flanks of the Peninnes in the West, just 30 miles from the Irish Sea. Broadly North Yorkshire breaks down into three parts:

  • In the east the North Yorks Moors and Cleveland Hills including the North York Moors National park and spectacular Yorkshire coastline.
  • In the west The Yorkshire Dales including the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • In the middle are the Vales of York and Mowbray, a flattish plain draining to the River Ouse.

Mainly a rural farming county the seven administrative districts contain some 700 parishes. This site lists over 800 communities; some just a couple of houses, others substantial villages and bustling market towns. The area has only York, Scarborough and Harrogate which some might describe as city sized, in the rest of North Yorkshire there are few large towns with populations over 15000.