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Best Places to Fly a Drone in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire is a county in North East England and the largest in the area, as it’s approximately 2,483 square miles.

It’s a splendid place to use a drone, but with national parks and nature preserves scattered across the land, you must plan your drone flights carefully.

Where can you fly a drone in North Yorkshire?

Here are the top drone flight locations in North Yorkshire:

  • North Moors National Park
  • Yorkshire Dales
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park
  • Nidderdale

This guide will take you through the best places to operate a drone in North Yorkshire and share some drone laws and tips along the way, so make sure you don’t miss it!

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The best locations to fly your drone in North Yorkshire

The following drone flight recommendations in North Yorkshire are current to the best of our knowledge.

However, you should always use a drone map to determine restricted airspace (including temporary flight restrictions) and look for signage indicating where you can and cannot fly.

With that caveat out of the way, let’s start the list.

1. North Moors National Park

North Moors National Park is a place of endless wonder in North Yorkshire.

Immerse yourself in stunning views like starry night skies and picture-perfect coastal sights, check out spots where programs like Downton Abbey and The Secret Garden were filmed, go cycling or horseback riding, take a leisurely stroll, or watch some wildlife.

The park spans 554 square miles. Since it’s such a picturesque place, more than 23,000 people live here.

According to the North Moors National Park website[1], you can launch a drone on the park grounds.

However, considering how much of the park is privately-owned land (up to 80 percent), you must have the landowner’s permission before your flight.

» MORE: Can You Fly a Drone in a UK National Park?

The National Park Authority owns the rest of the park, which is under one percent.

Thus, while you’re technically allowed to fly a drone within North Moors National Park, whether you can or cannot ultimately comes down to the people who live here.

Further, the National Park Authority states that it “will not grant permission to amateur operators for drone flight from its land for the following reasons…

In the event of an accident causing damage to property or injury to people, the operator of the drone will be liable to pay compensation.

Amateur operators generally have not received professional training, are not registered with the Civil Aviation Authority and do not have appropriate insurance, should this happen.”

So what does the National Park Authority define as an amateur drone pilot? They’re referring to hobbyists or recreational pilots. Only commercial pilots can operate here.

You must contact the National Park Authority and request its permission if you plan to do any commercial filming. You can only film on lands the organization owns.

You’ll have a higher chance of receiving a yes if you have drone insurance and CAA registration. It also helps if you work with an established production company.

You must contact the National Park Authority at least 21 days ahead of your project to ensure you have permission in time.

If you’re granted authorization to use your drone for commercial filming in North Moors National Park, you must fly at least 50 meters or 150 feet from private property and crowds, fly no higher than 120 meters or 400 feet from the ground, and avoid restricted drones.

In the park, the land around Kilburn White Horse and the Sutton Bank National Park Centre is restricted.

2. Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales in historic Yorkshire County includes Yorkshire Dales National Park­–which we have coming up on the list–but encompasses the land beyond the park too.

This area includes hills and river valleys between the Pennine watershed and the Vale of York. The Garsdale, Dentdale, and Ribblesdale dales are under the Yorkshire Dales umbrella, as are a collection of limestone caves.

Like North Moors National Park, much of Yorkshire Dales is privately owned. The people who live here use the vast lands agriculturally, usually on farmsteads but also hamlets and tiny villages.

The most common farming activities are cattle and sheep breeding.

You can operate your drone throughout Yorkshire Dales, although not in every last nook and cranny. For example, you cannot fly over private property without speaking to the landowner first and getting their approval.

You must avoid Malham Cove, as peregrine falcons nest here that are safeguarded by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Schedule 1. If you disturb the birds, you could face a criminal charge.

The National Trust possesses much of the land in nearby upper Wharfedale and Malham Tarn. You cannot fly a drone here either.

You should also strongly consider keeping your drone out of the cave systems, as hard rock and dark conditions are not conducive to a safe drone flight. You could also lose signal the deeper you go into the cave.

The cave systems in Yorkshire Dales include:

  • Stump Cross Caverns (by Pateley Bridge)
  • Ingleborough Cave
  • Goyden System (near Pateley Bridge)
  • White Scars Cave (by Ingleton)
  • Easegill System
  • Leck Fell Caves
  • Mossdale Caverns
  • Alum Pot System
  • Gaping Gill System

3. Yorkshire Dales National Park

If you can fly your drone in Yorkshire Dales, it only makes sense that you can do the same in Yorkshire Dales National Park. Indeed, you can.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is an 841-square-mile national park in North Yorkshire. Well, most of the park is in North Yorkshire, but some of it is in Lancashire and Westmorland, although a lot more in the latter than the former.

The park first opened in 1954 and grew in size in 2016. It’s the home of such attractive sights as the Kisdon Force waterfall, Orton Fells, the Cautley Spout waterfall, Clapton, and Bolton Castle.

Even though you’re allowed to fly a drone in Yorkshire Dales National Park, considering that more than 95 percent of the land has private owners, it’s at their discretion that you can launch a drone.

Once again, you’re prohibited from using your drone in Malham Tarn and Malham Cove to avoid disturbing the Peregrine falcons.

Further, you must avoid flying in all Special Protection Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. SPAs and SSSIs throughout the UK are available to review on this drone map.

Do you plan to use your drone commercially at Yorkshire Dales National Park? You must contact the National Park Authority and obtain permission.

4. Nidderdale

Pilots have also had good luck flying their UAVs in Nidderdale, a Yorkshire dale also referred to by the locals as Netherdale.

As part of the River Nidd’s upper valley and reservoirs like the Gouthwaite Reservoir, the dale also features Patetley Bridge, a small town.

However, there are many settlements in the area:

  • Kettlesing
  • Hampsthwait
  • Birstwith
  • Darley
  • Dacre
  • Summerbridge
  • Glasshouses
  • Bewerley
  • Middlesmoor
  • Lofthouse
  • Ramsgill
  • Wath

As has been the case the entire time, you must speak to the landowners and ask for their permission before you launch your drone.

UK drone laws to know before you go

Now that you’ve found some great places to fly a drone in North Yorkshire, let’s review the CAA’s drone laws.

You need a drone license

The UK has two types of drone licenses, Operator and Flyer IDs.

You can have one or both, as a Flyer ID is for those who fly a drone, whereas an Operator ID is for those who are responsible for drones either as an individual or part of a company.

You must pass a flying test to earn a drone license in the UK. The Flyer ID exam is more basic compared to the Operator ID exam.

You can also opt to obtain both licenses simultaneously.

You must register your drone

The CAA does not require registration if yours is a toy drone or a lightweight UAV that weighs less than 250 grams.

That also applies to drones without a camera.

When you register your drone, you’ll receive a unique registration number you must affix to your drone before flying it.

Do not fly over 120 meters

The legal height limit for unmanned aircraft in the UK is 120 meters or 400 feet.

If you’re flying on a cliff, hill, or mountain, use whatever the nearest point is to the earth’s surface as your point of guidance.

Do not operate closer than 50 meters to people

Whether people are stationary or traveling via vehicle on land or sea, you cannot fly your drone closer than 50 meters to people. You’re also prohibited from flying over people.

Smaller drones can get closer to crowds, as can pilots who have permission from the crowd to operate nearer to them.

However, you mustn’t operate your drone in such a way that someone could get hurt.

In larger crowds, such as in a busy shopping mall, a concert or festival, a packed beach, or during other instances where crowds gather, you cannot fly over the crowd with your drone.

Do not fly closer than 150 meters to buildings

You’re also prohibited from using your drone within 150 meters of the closest industrial, recreational, residential, or commercial site unless your drone weighs less than 250 grams.  


Whether you live in North Yorkshire or just visiting, you’ll find this area is rich with culture, heritage, and some truly phenomenal places to fly your drone.

From Nidderdale to Yorkshire Dales and North Moors National Park, you can capture footage of all kinds throughout the UK.

Please obtain all necessary permissions and always follow CAA drone laws when you fly here. Have fun out there!

1. North Moors National Park (link)