Helmsley is the main town of the western moors, located at a major road junction at the entrance to Rye Dale. Even now the quickest route between the east coast cities of Hull and Middlesbrough lies through Helmsley, along the B 1257 through Bilsdale. The heart of the town is the market place, on the western side of the town. Just to the south is the River Rye, just to the west Helmsley Castle. This is the best bit of the town, with an interesting mix of medieval and Georgian houses.
The castle dates back to 1120, although the existing ruins are later, and include Tudor domestic buildings. The great tower or keep survives to its full height on the western side, but had been demolished down to the ground on the east, producing a perfect slice through a medieval great tower. The most dramatic feature of the castle now are the nine meter deep double ditches which surround it. Eventually the castle was purchased by Sir Charles Duncombe, who built the nearby Duncombe Park. The house still belongs to the same family, and is now open to the public.
Grid Reference: SE 612 838
Helmsley contains a wide variety of shops and restaurants, including a good second hand book shop.
Helmsley is on Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL26 (North Yorks Moors Western Area)