“Crumbling cliffs, smuggler’s haunts and an airy coastal path will combine to delight the walker”
From Saltburn by the Sea in the North (and west) though to Scarborough and even Filey to the South (and east) the coastline of Yorkshire is endlessly dramatic and full of interest and intrigue. ‘Dramatic’ is derived from the high chalky cliffs slowly eroding in to the sea which provides superb and easy walking; ‘Interest’ is provided by the wonderful views out to sea, the calls of different sea birds and the varied settlements whilst ‘Intrigue’ comes from the colourful history of the little villages and towns and their constant (sometimes even legal!) battle with the sea. For any walker having the constant rumble of the rolling waves adds something more to the whole experience.
Whitby is the capital of the Yorkshire coast and conveniently splits the coast in 2 to boot. Any visitor to the area finds themselves drawn to this grand old fishing town with its splendid abbey set high on the cliffs. With working fishing boats and modern pleasure boats vying for attention the harbour is the focus of the town but not the best bit. The old quarter is an area of cobbled streets and old taverns which evoke a bygone area of smuggling and press gangs, fisherman’s cottages and chippies and certainly gets my vote.
To the North of Whitby and Sandsend the coastline is very special, wild in places but always interesting. Do not expect nice level ground walking, the coastal path rises and falls seemingly continually on to exposed moors or deep dells. In the deep dells is found Staithes, original work place of Captain Cook and a must see village whereas the drop to Saltburn reveals an old Victorian seaside holiday town which has succeeded in retaining some of its charm and sparkle. However Runswick Bay is my own personal favourite. the pretty village tucked under the northerly cliffs with the wide sweeping bay full of those child and adults favourites; rock pools.
Robin Hood’s Bay dominates the thoughts of anyone walking south of Whitby. A little more popular than Runswick Bay and a little larger the village is again set to the north of the sands and rock pools whereas to the south Ravenscar and the famous hotel is perched high on the cliffs with possibly the best views on the entire coast. The cliff edge walking from here down to Scarborough is wild and dramatic and one last tip, visit the odd little pub at Heyburn Wyke, unsurpassed for individuality and character.
Although the Cleveland Way sticks religiously to the coast those only dabbling with coastal walking will want to know if they have to retrace their steps on each walk. The answer is NO. Either make use of the frequent and reliable coastal hopper bus service or head further inland and make the walk a circular – I particularly enjoyed following the tracks of the old now disused railway which used to wind its way up the coast taking tourists or minerals up to the industrial centre of Teesside.
Jonathan’s view of Osmotherley & the West
Jonathan’s view of the Central Moors & Dales
Jonathan’s view of the railways, Great Ayton & the Esk Valley
From Saltburn to Sinningrove. 6 miles
Staithes to Port Mulgrave. 6.5 miles
Discover the delights of Runswick Bay. 3.5 miles
Whitby to Runswick Bay (or the other way). 8.5 miles
Whitby Abbey & the Coast. 4.5 miles
Exploring Robin Hood’s Bay. 7.5 miles
Ravenscar to Heyburn Wyke. 8.5 miles
Cloughton & the Old Railway. 4.5 miles
Hidden Harwood Dale. 6.5 miles
Scarborough Sea Cut. 5.5 miles
The Coast at Filey 4 miles
Flamborough Head 8 miles
Other Things to do on the Yorkshire Coast
Gateway. A small but passionate organization trying to improve the footpath network around Whitby
For things to see and do on the Yorkshire Coast click here
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Places to Stay
Streanshalh B & B, Robin Hood’s Bay
Raven Hall Country Hotel, Ravenscar
Rosedale Cottages Port Mulgrave
Basin Howe Farm Cottages, nr Pickering
Old Spot Cottage, Harwood Dale