A rare gorge, about a mile and a quarter long, cut into the tabular hills.
The River Derwent rises on the moors above Hackness, just to the north of the valley. Before the last ice age, those streams flowed directly to the sea, as you would expect. However, while during the ice age the north sea was covered in ice, this part of the moors remained free of glaciers. These streams had nowhere to drain, and formed a large lake, trapped between the tabular hills, the high moors and the glaciers. Eventually, this lake reach suched a size that it overlapped the hills, and started to drain south. This flow slowly carved the Forge Valley, until when the glaciers finally receeded the River Derwent was now confirmed in its new course, south through Forge Valley, then west until it joins the Ouse fifty miles away from the coast!
Forge Valley contains two car parks, and a footpath alongside the river. Other facilities are to be found in East and West Ayton, at the southern end of the valley.
Forge Valley is on Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL27 (North Yorks Moors Eastern Area)