Sandwiched between beautiful moorland and the North Sea is a very special 26-mile strip of coastline, brimming with mini adventures and maritime curiosities. The fishing villages between Saltburn and Cloughton are part of the North York Moors National Park and have a quirky, independent charm all of their own. Very different in character from better known towns on the Yorkshire coastline, they are historic but not stuck in the past. It’s easy to while away hours reliving those childhood seaside holidays. Remember the feel of golden sand beneath your feet and the excitement of finding sea creatures in rockpools? It’s not just about tranquil moments on the beach. There are now plenty of chances to get an adrenaline fix out on the water, in the woods or on the clifftops above. You might be pleasantly surprised by the clean lines and contemporary feel of some of the newer places to eat. We thought we’d take a closer look at the magical North York Moors coastline where you can shrug off everyday cares, really relax and try new activities. Nature lovers will want to use our checklist to see what they can spot. We’ve also put together some Perfect Days for you to enjoy as well as plenty of family friendly explorations along the coast. Enjoy!
Saltwick Bay © Mark Heslington
Front cover image: Staithes Illusion Trail © Tony Bartholomew
6. In search of smugglers 8. Cake 10. Down our way 12. Stay somewhere with a story to tell...
22. Top twenty nature highlights 26. Fun for all the family 28. Different ways of seeing... the sea
40. Eat, drink & be merry 42. Go on a mini adventure 50. History set in stone 51. See for yourself
52. Perfect days
18. Fishing today
34. Hobnobbing with the goblins
66. Starry skies
20. Fishy experiences
36. Made in Malton
16. Fish & fishing
YHA Boggle Hole ÂŠ Tony Bartholomew PAGE 5
68. North York Moors National Park
Girls enjoying a paddle at Saltburn ÂŠ Fridge Productions Limited
Robin Hood’s Bay © Mark Denton
Smuggler’s beer at Robin Hood’s Bay © Dan Prince
They may have sometimes been violent, dishonest and downright dangerous people to know, but we’re intrigued by the idea of smugglers. Maybe it’s the secrecy, the tax dodging tactics or simply a childlike desire to play hide-and-seek… It’s said that Robin Hood’s Bay was the busiest smuggling village on the east coast in the 18th century, and that a bale of silk could pass from the bottom of the village to the top without leaving the houses, thanks to the network of underground passages and hiding places. Bay, as it is known by the locals, was an ideal location for this illicit activity, with a broad bay surrounded by inaccessible cliffs and isolated moorlands. Many different people were involved in this dishonest but well-organised business, ranging from fishermen to the local squire. So why was smuggling such big business? During Georgian times, heavy duties were imposed on silks, tobacco, tea, wines and spirits. This was seen as unfair and a barrier to free trade so it was no surprise that local people united with the smugglers against the customs authorities. The dangers were great but rewards were many. Bay wives apparently poured boiling water over excise men from bedroom windows in the narrow alleyways. Smuggling flourished despite some major successes by the excise men. Records show that in 1777 Whitby Custom House advertised a haul of 650 gallons of gin and 80 gallons of tea. These were goods they’d managed to recapture. How many others simply got passed on and sold?
Local company Baytown Beers & Spirits was clearly ‘influenced’ by this heritage, as some of their bottles testify with names like Smuggler’s Haul, Revenue’s Revenge, and Press Gang’s Arrival.
Robin Hood’s Bay © Fridge Productions Limited
It was imperative for the smugglers to move the goods from the coast to inland markets as quickly as they could. Some were carried by the alum ponies and taken on to York or even London. Evocative place names like Brandy Gap at Sawdon and Gin Garth by Danby give an indication of some of these old smuggling routes. The smugglers are long gone but you can still follow in their footsteps along the narrow alleyways of Robin Hood’s Bay. As you walk past the huddled houses and cascaded walkways, it’s quite easy to imagine the secret passageways and underground tunnels. In the Robin Hood’s Bay Museum there is a model of a smuggler’s house showing how contraband could be concealed. PAGE 7
Yes, thought that would get your attention! We’re pretty keen on cake too. It seems there’s a lot of it about in the North York Moors area, which has been declared ‘Britain’s Capital of Cake’. Is there any truth to this? Only one way to find out: detailed exploration and extensive tasting needed. We’ll leave you to carry out that mission… We just took a peek into history and discovered that cake probably arrived in this area with the Vikings so locals have certainly had plenty of experience making, eating and enjoying it. CapitalofCake.com lists over 50 different kinds of cake as well as a plethora of places where you can eat cake. It’s thought that Greeks were probably the first people to use cakes to celebrate, honouring the Goddess of the Moon, possibly making moon-shaped cakes. Our word ‘cake’ comes from the Nordic word, ‘kaka’. In the Middle Ages many cakes were made of spices and ginger – a bit like the parkin still made in Yorkshire today. Sugar used to be so costly that fine white icing on cakes was a symbol of great wealth, which probably explains why traditional wedding cakes are usually finished with white icing. In the Middle Ages, cakes were thrown at the bride for good luck. The guests scrambled for the crumbs and piled them high on a table. The bride and groom then had to kiss each other while leaning over the pile without it toppling in order to be blessed with a lifetime of happiness!
Capital of Cake © Real Staithes
Scientific reasons to eat cake...well almost...
1. Cakes contain sugar. Sugar creates endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. 2. The secret to good health is balance - and that includes sweet things! 3. Enjoy a cake that contains courgettes, beetroot or fruit, and it could be part of your five-a-day! 4. All celebrations need cake. Celebrate anything - even just being alive! 5. Life’s uncertain. Eat cake and dessert first!
Have a secret picnic by a waterfall at Hayburn Wyke
This is a bit of a secret. Maybe not a well kept one, but still a quiet spot nonetheless! Try heading down to the secluded cove of Hayburn Wyke and find a perfect picnic location. The beach here is a paradise for children who can create rock sculptures from the delightfully rounded rocks and pebbles, while you relax by the picturesque waterfall that drops directly onto the beach. There’s a 2.8 mile walk on the website that takes in this little bit of paradise.
Discover Ravenscar, ‘the town that never was'
Strange title? Ravenscar certainly has plenty of tales to tell, and is one of the top spots for stunning views in Yorkshire (as voted by Yorkshire folk!).
Cleveland Way National Trail
For many, the Cleveland Way National Trail is the key to discovering the beautiful coast and countryside of the North York Moors National Park. Like other long distance National Trails, it provides an enticing way of exploring the region. The 109-mile route will have you striding across bracing headlands, over heather-clad moorland, dipping down into the hidden fishing villages that hug the shoreline, and wandering through tranquil valleys inland as well as strolling through the coastal towns of Whitby and Scarborough. Not everyone has the time or inclination to complete this lengthy challenge, but it’s easy to walk shorter sections of the well-marked route. National Trails Officer, Malcolm Hodgson shares some of his recommendations at top10trails.com/cleveland-way
The best way to explore the hamlet’s history is to follow a figure-of-eight walk which first leads you down to the Peak Alum Works. The works were claimed to be the home of the world’s first chemical industry. It wasn’t complicated – they simply used a big bonfire, some aluminium sulphate, seaweed and human urine! It would once have been a very noisy, dirty, smelly spot. With the industry long-gone Ravenscar is now a scene of utter tranquillity. Continue on the three-mile route and explore ‘the town that never was’. Here you’ll see where there were once plans to build a resort to rival Scarborough and Whitby. The street layout, drainage, kerbstones are all there. It’s just the town and the people that are missing! The walk is detailed on the website.
Be the highest person on the east coast of England at Boulby Cliff, Staithes Feeling tall? Get to feel even taller on this five-mile stroll. Head out from Staithes along the Cleveland Way, with Boulby Cliff as your target. This high cliff stands at 203 metres (or a devilish 666 feet!) with spectacular views right along the rugged coastline.
You’ll be higher than anyone else on the east coast of England here (just as long as you’re the tallest in your group!).
Stride in the footsteps of Captain Cook and climb your first 'mountain' at Roseberry Topping
This time why not head inland and bag two of the big icons of the Cleveland Way – a walk up to Captain Cook’s Monument and Roseberry Topping. Roseberry Topping is not quite a mountain but it feels like one! This is a perfect first summit for children, with the reward of a 360 degree panorama from one of the best viewpoints in the North York Moors. A stroll across the moors brings you to Captain Cook’s Monument, a tribute to one of the world’s most famous explorers who was raised just a few miles away at Great Ayton.
Fancy a walking weekend?
With varied stunning scenery, wildlife, great cafés and welcoming pubs en-route, our recommended weekend wander along the Cleveland Way really packs it in. The Trail’s route between Whitby and Scarborough is a coastal classic with an overnight stop in the enchanting old fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Try this 20.8 mile route and we reckon you will be back for more! Download the North Yorkshire Coast two-day walk from nationaltrail.co.uk/Cleveland-way
Cleveland Way National Trail, North York Moors © Thomas Heaton, Visit England
Stay somewhere with a story to tell...... With a heritage based on dinosaurs, fishing, smuggling, art and mining there are abundant stories of days gone by, so it’s little wonder that many of the places you can stay along the North York Moors Coast have a tale attached.
The Vogue connection
This beautiful cottage near Sandsend was once owned by Kennedy Fraser, an English-born journalist who moved to America and became a columnist and fashion critic for US Vogue magazine and New Yorker. Dating back to the 17th century, the Retreat is one of the oldest properties along the coastline and was once home to a flamboyant Victorian fossil hunter who would don a top hat and tails and use a whalebone umbrella to comb for fossils on the beaches. With many of the original features retained and an interior that would meet with a fashion designer’s approval, The Retreat really lives up to its name. gorgeouscottages.com
A former wartime bunker
In the grounds of Beacon Hill at Sandsend, The Porthole dates back to the 1890s and used to be known as The Bunker. Its concrete construction made it ideal as a defensive bunker during wartime. Post-war, The Bunker existed as a garden shed before the present owners transformed it into The Porthole three years ago. Now it’s a self-contained one-bedroom bolthole where visitors can enjoy the ‘best seats in the house’ from the terrace looking across sweeping views of the coastline. sandsendcottages.co.uk
A bird's eye view of 18th century harbour activity
Quayside Cottage in Whitby would have been at the hub of harbour activity during the 1700s when there was a five-storey warehouse and sail cloth weaving shed nearby. The cottage overlooks Tate Hill Beach where trading vessels, dating back to the Viking era, would land to unload their cargo. The beach has also been the scene of many shipwrecks, one of which is said to have provided inspiration for author Bram Stoker when he was writing Dracula. shoreline-cottages.com
Saltwick Bay © Mark Heslington
An 18th century construction conundrum
Red House Farm set the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments a conundrum when it was evaluating the construction of the farmhouse. They believe the original owner Franklin Coates employed a local builder who used methods that were more commonly used a century earlier than the 1748 construction date. This resulted in the farm having a ‘cross’ passage rather than longhouse construction. Thorpe Hall
Quayside Cottage tucked away in Whitby’s Quayside The Retreat
Today many of the original features remain in the B&B and the Old Sheaf Store, providing accommodation which is full of character. redhousefarm.com
Links to the slave trade
In the 1820s Sneaton Castle was owned by James Wilson, an enigmatic figure who used the wealth that he accumulated as a sugar cane plantation owner to rebuild the castle. The Castle remained in Wilson’s family before it became a school and then was sub-let to Margaret Cope, who founded the Anglican religious community, the Order of the Holy Paraclete in 1915. Today, the castle is still owned by the Order and caters for a wide variety of day and residential groups in a beautiful setting just 20 minutes’ walk from the centre of Whitby. sneatoncastle.co.uk
Chocolatier's philanthropic vision for a conference centre
Cober Hill’s connections to the Rowntree family go back to 1920 when Arnold Rowntree bought the mansion house to create a residential conference centre for use by people working in education, social services and charities. Arnold fulfilled his vision and in May 1933 Prince George, son of George V, visited holidaymakers at Cober Hill to mark the fact that fundraising had enabled hundreds of deprived children to holiday at the centre.
Royal connections and smuggling
Thorpe Hall’s origins date back to the 1600s when John Fawside, a bowmaster to King James l of Scotland, began building the hall. The grand mansion remained in the family, who subsequently changed their name to Farsyde, and became involved in shipping and smuggling. There is still an enclosed secret stone hide in the rear garden which was thought to be a hold for the contraband. Nowadays visitors can stay in the charming Grade ll listed hall and immerse themselves in the history of the place. thorpe-hall.co.uk
Cober Hill has stuck close to its roots and today is still a sought-after facility for art and craft courses, as a base for outdoor adventures, and for a tranquil rest with views overlooking the coast. coberhill.co.uk
A mining magnate's Baronial mansion
The ‘seat’ of Grinkle was once owned by Victorian shipping and mining magnate Charles Palmer MP who bought the estate in 1865. The Palmer family continued to live in the mansion until it was bought by the Hope and Anchor Brewery in 1947 when it primarily became used as a shooting lodge. Today Grinkle Park’s grounds are suitably grand – 35 acres including woodland, a lake, and lawns bordered by rhododendrons. classiclodges.co.uk
The fishing industry was essential to the development of villages like Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay. It’s shaped the coastline and the people, and plays a role in everyday life. We invited local fisherman, Sean Baxter to tell us more.
In the 15th century, coves and inlets provided a natural haven for mariners to escape the ravages of the sea. Villages such as Staithes, Robin Hood’s Bay and Runswick Bay began to spring up. At one time whaling was the most lucrative occupation from larger ports like Whitby, but by the 1800s fishing became more important. Key catches were cod, ling and herring. By the late 1800s, Staithes had grown to become one of the largest fishing ports on the north east coast of England. Looking at the small harbour now, it’s hard to believe around 300 Staithes men were engaged in the fishing industry. They fished from locally-made wooden cobles or larger five-man boats. The design of the cobles was based on the Viking long boat. Cobles had flat bottoms, so could be launched from sandy beaches as there were no harbours at this time. The high stern and bow enabled the boats to withstand the waves and swells while lower sides made it easier to haul in the fishing nets. You could often tell where a coble came from by its colour. Staithes cobles were traditionally painted red, blue and white. Later came the yawls: bigger boats with larger sails that could venture out further for deep-sea fishing and stay out for days on-end. Virtually the whole of the community would have been engaged in fish-related occupations. Women played an active role, collecting and preparing bait, tanning and repairing nets, and knitting the fishermen’s ganseys and socks. Women also helped carry the fresh catch up from the beach. To do this they wore a bonnet with a reinforced crown enabling them to carry fully-laden baskets and lines on their heads. One of the last remaining places to see the bonnets was in Staithes, and until recently, the headwear was still worn on special occasions.
Real Staithes, All My Sons © Tony Bartholomew
Each of the cottages would also have a barking shed or cellar for tanning fishing lines and nets. Towards the end of the 1800s, the coming of the railway line along the coast changed the face of the industry, making the villages less remote. Fresh fish could be transported across the rest of the country. The advent of steam power initially enabled the villages to flourish. Apparently in Staithes, enough cod, mackerel and haddock were landed for the North Eastern Railway to run 3-4 fish trains a week. Herring fishing was a huge business with large fishing fleets leaving the shores as shoals of the ‘silver darlings’ migrated southwards. The introduction of steam-powered trawlers that needed to dock in larger harbours began to sound the death knell for the traditional fishing villages. This was exacerbated by the much-depleted stocks of fish that local fishermen faced, as a result of the bigger fishing capacity of the trawlers, and competition from boats coming from as far away as Scotland. As fishing became harder, many began working in the local ironstone mines. Tourism began to develop as visitors came to the villages on the trains. By 1951, only one fishing coble remained in Staithes and, with continued over-fishing in the North Sea, the Common Fisheries Policy was established and subsequently introduced fishing quotas in the 1980s.
Many boats would be built locally. Sails would also be made and preserved with cutch. Cutch is a dye, which turned the sails brown or red. The pigment or cutch was mixed with oil to coat the sails and protect them from the seawater. Three cauldrons were used in Staithes to boil the sails during the tanning process. PAGE 16
‘Repus’ restored fishing coble with carved fisherman, Skinningrove © North York Morrs National Park
Brown crab and lobster
Crabs and lobsters are trapped in net covered ‘pots’ that are baited with scraps of fish and placed on the seabed near to the rocks, which provide protection for the shellfish. The main shellfish season is between March and September but some fishing takes place during the winter when the weather is settled and prices are higher. The best time for lobsters is June, July and August, and numbers have been growing in recent years due to conservation measures and possibly the decline of cod stocks. Like fishing, tide and time will decide where it’s best to place the lobster pots to provide the best catch.
Cod, whiting and flatfish
Fishing Today Lobster pot demonstration - Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage © Tony Bartholomew
Whiting are caught all year round, while flatfish tend to appear in greater numbers in the spring and summer. Cod are targeted more in the winter when the fish are closer inshore.
The thriving fish population along the North Yorkshire coastline also supports an abundance of wildlife. Today, the waters off the Yorkshire coast are marine-rich habitats supporting a wide range of fish and wildlife including whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals. Fishing is undergoing a renaissance, and shellfish is becoming an important part of the catch. The North Sea is a relatively shallow sea and now, as a result of conservation measures, offers good fishing with a diverse range of species. The trawlers focus on catching white fish further offshore in deeper waters. Closer inshore, fishermen use nets to catch fish such as cod, whiting, sea bass and flatfish. The same fish can also be caught using longlines (lines with baited hooks) which can be more effective in strong tides, although these methods are rarely used nowadays as lobster potting is more lucrative and seal predation on nets and lines make it impossible to work them. Pots are used for catching lobster and brown crabs. Much of the fishing is dictated by the weather, tides and the time. Fish move according to the tide and the time of day will dictate how far out they are.
Main season: August-October
Whales and dolphins
From August, whales are regularly spotted as they feast on the herring and mackerel shoals migrating down the coast. In one single day in 2014, Whitby Whale Watching recorded seeing not just minke whales, but also fin, sei and humpback whales. Porpoises can be spotted throughout the year, and bottle-nosed and white-beaked dolphins are being seen in increasing numbers.
Both common and grey seal colonies are thriving beneath the cliffs at Ravenscar. There’s a very good chance of seeing common seal pups in June and July, while grey seals come ashore to pup in November.
An amazing variety of birds can be spotted along the coastline including common terns, known as sea swallows, which arrive from April through to September. Other birds to look out for include: long-tailed skua, Arctic skua, manx and sooty shearwater, guillemot, razorbills, herons, fulmar, gannet, red-throated driver, common scoter and the caspian gull.
Dogger herring (the local name given to the herring population in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea) can form large shoals off the North Yorkshire coast as they spawn around five miles from the coastline. Larvae hatched in autumn spend their first winter drifting towards nursery areas in the eastern side of the North Sea, passing the North Yorkshire coast en-route. A 10-year ban was put on herring fishing back in the 1970s and all but ended local catches, particularly as popularity for the fish had waned. However huge shoals continue to be seen off the North Yorkshire coast and they are an important source of food for whales. As the shoals move down the coastline, whales can be seen tracking the herring.
Mackerel are spotted off the coast from April until November. Like herring, they spawn off the coast and then move south providing a food source for whales. PAGE 18
Grey seals © Steve Race
Visitors showing off their catch © Chris J Parker
Take a look at the huge (over 5 metres high) whale jaw bones by West Cliff in Whitby
Learn to cook great fish dishes on a course at The Arches Cookery School near Saltburn
Join a charter angling boat and try fishing out at sea
Spot the 18ft long ‘Evolution of Life in the Sea’ mural, and restored fishing coble with carved fisherman at Skinningrove
Listen out for the Men of Staithes, a choir carrying on the tradition of a village ‘fisherman’s choir’ that sings shanties and hymns A visit to the coast isn’t complete until you’ve eaten fish and chips or fresh lobster and crab Pick up some wool from Craft at Cleveland Corner in Staithes and try your hand at knitting a fisherman’s gansey. While you’re there, look closely at some of the cottage names in Staithes: many were named after their owners’ boats and houses were even painted the same three colours as their owners’ cobles
Captain Cook statue and whalebone arch © Tony Bartholomew
Go down to the harbour and spot lobster pots and ulley boxes (enclosed spaces built to keep lobsters in – there’s one near the sea wall in Staithes) Look out for pubs bearing names connected to the area’s maritime history… Cod & Lobster, Ship Inn, Captain Cook Inn… For more information about local fishing opportunities take a look at whitbyseaanglers.co.uk
Fresh lobster © North York Moors National Park
Did you know: The RNLI The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. They provide a 24hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK, and a seasonal lifeguard service. Remarkably, much of their lifesaving service is provided by volunteers, generously supported by voluntary donations and legacies. They don’t just rescue fishermen caught out by freak storms: a high proportion of their work is to help holidaymakers and people enjoying water-based activities such as fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding and surfing. Sometimes people simply fall off a pier and have to be rescued. You never know when you might need them, so please consider making a donation at one of their stations in Staithes or Whitby.
Staithes Harbour © Volunteer Brian Nicholson
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We asked Steve Race and Richard Baines who run Yorkshire Coast Nature for their top twenty nature highlights around the moorland and coast of the North York Moors. Some of these incredible natural sights can be quite elusive so you might want to book a nature safari with Yorkshire Coast Nature to learn how to spot them!
This amazing bird nests on fast running streams. Try looking for them on the river Esk near Whitby or at Boggle Hole. They feed underwater on invertebrates, helped by the fact that their bones are solid rather than hollow so they don’t float back to the surface.
Early purple orchid
The first orchid of the year to appear. Look out for them between April and June in woodland clearings or grassland by the side of the Cinder Track. Each spike can have as many as 50 flowers!
Look out for them in rockpools where they can be found hunting barnacles with their powerful crushing jaws! Up to 10cm long they can survive out of water for short periods by storing water in their gills.
Edible crab Common darter
Look out for these beautiful small dragonflies basking in the sun anytime from June to October. They often perch horizontally along wooden fence rails bordering paths such as the Cleveland Way.
These large predators hunt at night and their shells can grow up to 25cm wide. They breed in winter and females can lay up to three million eggs! Look out for them in large rockpools but be very careful not to disturb them as they have a nasty nip!
Gliding effortlessly above the Jurassic cliffs where they nest on a ledge above the sea, the fulmar is a bird with amazing adaptations. They can live up to 40 years, and have a special extra nasal cavity which helps dispose of salt and detect food many miles away.
These tiny dinosaur like reptiles can be found in dry and warm corners, often on warm tree trunks or logs, in the late spring through to autumn. They give birth to live young unlike many other lizards which lay eggs.
Grey heron Curlew
Powerful and loud, the curlew uses its very long bill to probe sandy mud for invertebrate food. Look out for them anywhere on the rugged shoreline in autumn and winter. You might be surprised to learn that many of our winter curlews nest in Scandinavia as well as breeding on the moorland of the North York Moors.
With a massive but very light wing span of up to six feet, herons can be found on the seashore hunting for fish in the rockpools. They nest very early in the year sometimes laying their eggs in February!
The Latin name of these seals means “hooked-nosed sea pig”. Ravenscar is our largest colony. Look out for them here or in any bay on the coast. They give birth in autumn when they can be seen on the rocks tending their young pups.
The subject of much 19th century poetry, the Harebell or “fairest flower” (Shakespeare) must be one of the most delicate and beautiful of all our cliff top plants. It was dedicated as the County Flower of Yorkshire in 2002. Look out for it in grassland from July to September.
Orange tip butterfly
These small moths arrive as migrants in late autumn often alongside painted lady butterflies. Look out for them on flowers such as fleabane. They have a delicate ‘y’ shape on their wing.
The orange flash of the male orange tip is a sure sign of spring. They emerge from their chrysalis in May having overwintered as a pupa. Look out for them along the Cinder Track or Cleveland Way.
Migrant hawker dragonfly
Amazing to think of this delicate insect crossing the North Sea. This beautiful dragonfly can be seen along hedges and in grassland on the coastal cliffs from late summer. In autumn many more arrive from the continent and often survive into November.
Rockpools such as those at Robin Hood’s Bay are great habitats in winter especially for crazy creatures like the squat lobster. These shy and tiny animals sit in their rock crevices waiting for food to pass by as they try to hide from bigger predators.
The vivid colours of the oystercatcher are unmistakable. Look out for them searching for mussels at any time of year and on almost any beach or rocky shore. Their bills are very strong and flattened at the end to help open shells.
The short ephemeral life of a butterfly has never been so spectacular. Their short life involves a migration of thousands of miles from North Africa to the Yorkshire coast. Look out for them feeding on wild flowers on the cliff tops from late summer.
Famous for reaching speeds of up to 200mph on a stoop, peregrine falcons can be seen anywhere on the coast. Try the cliff top at Cowbar near Staithes. The adults usually remain within their home range all year round.
One of our earliest migrant birds to arrive back from Africa at the end of March is the striking wheatear. Look out for a flash of white as they fly over rocky cliffs searching for insect food. When they land they stand tall, always on the lookout.
Flowering between March and May, the wood anemone prefers to grow in old woods such as at Hayburn Wyke. This beautiful but poisonous flower was picked by the Romans who believed that the first flower of the season should be plucked as a charm to safeguard against fever. Richard Baines YorkshireCoastNature.co.uk
Staithes Illusion Trail © Tony Bartholomew
Follow the Staithes Illusion Trail around the village created by trompe l’oeil artist Paul Czainski.
Rockpooling along the North York Moors Coast © North York Moors National Park
Want some inspiration for family-friendly ways to spend your time on the coast? Here are a few ideas:
Hire a bike from Trailways at Hawsker and follow part of the traffic-free former Scarborough to Whitby railway (the ‘Cinder Track’) for four miles back to Whitby. Not only are you treated to spectacular coastal views but you also get to pedal over the impressive 13 arches of Larpool Viaduct.
Start your Staithes exploration in the Captain Cook & Staithes Heritage Centre, featuring a recreated 1745 street scene.
Take a walk along the Grade II-listed Victorian pleasure pier in Saltburn, marvelling at the view below through the gaps in the wood floor. Look out for the latest colourful yarn-bombing!
Find out more about the rich marine life at Robin Hood’s Bay in the National Trust’s visitor centre in the Old Coastguard Station. Pick up a Family Tracker Pack to help you explore this special place and enjoy family activities together.
Find ammonites of all kinds on display at Whitby Museum as well as exhibitions on a range of subjects from Cook and Scoresby, to archaeology and native jet.
Learn about the richness of local life in Robin Hood’s Bay Museum, housed in what used to be the Coroner’s Room and Mortuary.
Pick up a free, fun sticker trail and follow in the footsteps of CBeebies’ ‘Old Jack’s Boat’ which was filmed in Staithes. The leaflet is available in the village, just look out for posters. Take a trip on the Saltburn Miniature Railway running from Cat Nab Station close to the beach for about half a mile inland to Forest Halt in Valley Gardens.
Child using Tracker Pack © Tessa Bunney
The sea has inspired countless generations of artists who’ve loved the special light, the impact of nature on the landscape and the incredible skies above the coastline. In the 19th century the “Staithes Group”, an art colony of around 25 artists, inspired others to come to the North York Moors Coast to paint and enjoy the special light. Increasing numbers of artists continue to come in search of inspiration and a sense of freedom, thanks to the refreshing open spaces of the moors, and the wide sea vistas. Their creativity is fuelled by the towering cliffs and cottages huddled around the historic harbours. These are just a few of the contemporary artists whose work has been inspired by the coast around Staithes, Saltburn, Sandsend, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay.
Colin Cook James McGairy Richard Hawkin Bridget Wilkinson
Painting at Staithes © Al Milnes
Galleries where you can see work by local artists and craftspeople Bils & Rye in Nunnington Blue Shed Studio Gallery in Port Mulgrave Coast Gallery and Tea Room in Cloughton Gillies Jones in Rosedale Abbey Joe Cornish Gallery in Northallerton Inspired by… gallery at The Moors National Park Centre, Danby
Staithes Gallery at twilight © Al Milnes
© Gillies Jones
Saltbox Gallery in Helmsley Staithes Gallery, Staithes Studio Gallery, and the Slipway Studio in Staithes
Blue Lobster - Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage © Tony Batholemew
Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage for pop-up galleries every September Wold Pottery in Loftus
Inspired by... gallery © Charles Twist
Want to try for yourself?
Staithes Gallery is a showcase for the very best contemporary artwork inspired by Staithes and the surrounding coast and moorlands of the North York Moors. It’s also the home of Staithes Art School which organises painting weekends and bespoke painting breaks to enable painters of all ages and levels of experience to make the most of the wonderful painting opportunities the inspirational village has to offer. staithesgallery.co.uk
Feeling creative? Want to learn a new skill in the North York Moors? Check out YorkshireTreasures.com where you’ll find details of a host of creative workshops.
But a hob doesn’t like to be spied on and one night a farm lad peeked through a crack in the barn wall and saw him there, working naked, as he beat with the swipple. The lad went away and told his friends, who decided to reward the hardworking hob with a gift. They wrapped up a new work shirt, left it in the barn and then watched in secret the following night to see the hob’s reaction. It never occurred to them that they might be causing insult and that a hob must never accept a gift…
A ‘boggle’ is another name for one of the little people or hobgoblins thought to hide along the coast. One of the most obvious places to look for them is at Boggle Hole where smugglers used to land their contraband.
When the hob opened the parcel and saw what was inside, he simply told them that he always worked naked and anyway, if a rough work shirt was all he was worth, he would never come again to thresh or stamp. And indeed, he was never seen again. On a misty day or a wintry night, it’s easy to believe that mysterious spirits play in hidden spots around the North York Moors National Park. Rose Ryland is a local storyteller and tour guide. She’s made a study of the hobs, who are believed to live in this area. Here she tells some of their stories.
Robin Hood was also the name of an ancient spirit and the use of the name for an elf or spirit was once widespread. Maybe that’s how Robin Hood’s Bay got its name?
There was a widespread belief in the existence of hobs spanning hundreds of years. Of all the creatures in British folklore, the hob straddles an invisible veil between the mythic and the real, between the realms of the supernatural and superstitious, and genuine reported sightings. Whitby Storyteller © Glen Fiztpatrick
We have many wonderful tales in this area about our hobs. In other parts of the country they feature in other forms and are called brownies, elves, imps, boggles, dobbies, hobgoblins, pucks, pixies and leprechauns. They dwell among the myriad of ‘little people’ that inhabit British and European folklore and legend, and are most famously depicted in Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’. In JK Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’, Dobby the house elf is another supernatural being who has many characteristics of the hob.
The hobs themselves were often named after the places where they lived, such as Cross Hob of Lastingham, Elphi of Low Farndale, Hodge Hob of Bransdale, The Goathland Hob of Howl Moor, Hob of Egton Moor, the Scugdale Hob, Hob of Hasty Bank in Bilsdale and the Hob of Hob Cave at Runswick Bay. They are also neighbours to the Boggle of Boggle Hole and the Faeries of Claymore Well, but that is all another story… On the North York Moors, the Hob was depicted as a small, dwarf-like being covered in shaggy hair, with big feet, capable of superhuman strength and speed. They would live with a particular family, usually on a farm where they did odd jobs. Incredibly private, they preferred to work alone, and were often naked because they detested wearing clothes, taking great offence if offered any. Their only condition was to be left alone and rewarded occasionally with a jug of cream. The Hob is part of a magical economy, a supernatural being who asks little reward and works all night for the farm’s good. An otherworldly gift for a struggling farmer! One such hob lived at Hart Hall Farm in Glaisdale and was known all over the district. He was much kinder than most, not nearly as mischievous as many and always did good deeds. He was highly valued on the farm and with a superhuman strength and speed, could accomplish more alone in one night than all the men on the farm could manage in a day. He was often heard in the barn at midnight threshing and stamping corn, and was known to have rescued an entire harvest that was in danger of being lost in a storm. PAGE 34
Linnaeus’ zoological classification of the 1700s differentiates ‘Homo Sapiens’ from ‘Homo Ferus’, the wild man, also known as the Wudwose. Described as covered in hair and living apart from other humans in mountains and forests, he was the source of reported real-life encounters and became richly woven into folklore. It is speculated that the Hob and the Wudwose were closely related. Find out more about these mysterious creatures and other local legends by joining Rose Rylands on one of her tours. She runs the Guided Walking Tour of Whitby, and Ghost Walks in Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. She entertains schools and universities, visiting tour groups, English language learners, wedding parties, families, and individuals. Contact: email@example.com www.whitbystoryteller.co.uk You can stay in a house that looks like something straight out of a fantasy novel at North Shire on Golden Hill Farm near Liverton. The recently opened Shire House sleeps up to six people and includes a grass roof, green porthole door, stained glass windows and a host of features inside that would make Bilbo Baggins proud. northshire.co.uk/
There are small caves in the cliffs by Runswick Bay known as ‘Hob Holes’ where in times gone by, mothers would bring their children to cure them of whooping cough by reciting a rhyme: “Hob Hole Hob, My bairn’s gotten t’kink cough, Tak it off, Tak it off.” PAGE 35
North Shire © Tony Bartholomew
Their accounts are public, activities are transparent and there’s a strong sense in Malton of people pulling together for the common good.
A place that once inspired Charles Dickens to create the character of Scrooge may not be the most obvious and fun destination for food lovers. And yet Malton is attracting increasing attention from discerning visitors who recognise it as Yorkshire’s Food Capital. This isn’t just another marketing tag – the phrase was first coined by Antonio Carluccio, godfather of Italian cuisine, after visiting the market town several times. Go back a few years, not quite as far as Dickens, and Malton was yet another ‘traditional’ (sometimes confused with ‘old-fashioned’) market town where shops struggled to survive. There was increased competition from out of town shopping centres with free parking, and more people were buying online. It all added up to a climate that made it hard for smaller businesses to flourish. Urgent action was needed. In 2008, long before Mary Portas looked at the problems facing small shopkeepers, local landlords, the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate decided to tackle the problem. A project team was formed. They came up with a plan to market the town as a food destination, and used the simple incentive of two hours’ free car parking to encourage people to shop locally. It wasn’t all plain sailing. Initial attempts to help the town by the Fitzwilliam Estate were greeted with cynicism. Why were they doing all this? They decided that a different approach was needed and created the Malton Community Interest Company, an arms-length organisation with a clear aim of “working with and for the community”. Malton Food Lovers Festival © Malton CIC
This strong sense of community and local pride is clear to see. It’s palpable when you shop. Malton is now buzzing and their new short film (see it on maltonyorkshire.co.uk) really conveys the enthusiasm and love people feel for the place. People with different views and backgrounds have really worked together, united by a universal love of food. There’s genuine substance to Malton’s claim as Yorkshire’s Food Capital. From March to December, a Food Market is held on the second Saturday of every month and showcases only the highest quality local produce. There are free cookery demos, a live brass band, Yorkshire street food and a great atmosphere. Each market attracts over 30 food and drink stalls. The highlight of the year every May has to be the Malton Food Lovers Festival. Established in 2009, this annual celebration of the very best Yorkshire produce and cooking takes place all over town. Yorkshire’s Food Capital plays host to international food writers, chefs and national foodies. It’s grown into a two day extravaganza with over 160 high-quality producer stalls, live cookery theatres, cookery school marquee, beer festival and family entertainment. For those who want to linger longer, the Talbot Hotel has had a complete facelift. As a historic Grade II* listed building, it’s kept its distinctive character but become a more comfortable, contemporary place to stay with an excellent restaurant as well as the new informal “turn up and eat” Malton Brasserie. Another old building has also been put to extremely good use. Saville House, a former congregational chapel, has been transformed into the Malton Cookery School. It’s a genius development: participants are equipped with new skills and keen to buy fresh local ingredients… and there’s no shortage of those in Malton!
Malton Cookery School © Malton CIC Malton Food Lovers Festival © Malton CIC
Malton Food Lovers Festival © Malton CIC
Malton Food Lovers Festival © Malton CIC
Malton Cookery School © Malton CIC
Malton Food Lovers Festival © Malton CIC
In addition to encouraging new shop owners to take on leases in properties around the town, Talbot Yard has recently been developed to become a Food Court. There’s already an ice cream parlour, artisan bakery, coffee roaster, butcher and more to come. The air is rich with the aroma of fresh coffee and newly-baked bread!
Dales Fruit & Veg © Malton CIC
Roost Coffee © Malton CIC
More events are planned such as the Game & Seafood Fest in September. There are plans to encourage more al-fresco dining in the Market Place as well as to create an Artisan Food Tour where visiting foodies can see for themselves the artisans at work, sampling and buying their products. With its location by the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on the fringes of the National Park and close to the coast, Malton has reclaimed its heritage as an active market town and has truly earned Antonio Carluccio’s endorsement as Yorkshire’s Food Capital.
Derek Fox Butchers, Malton © Malton CIC
Bluebird Bakery © Malton CIC
Saltburn Food Festival © Katie Lunn
All these places to eat and drink are recommended by locals – don’t go home until you’ve tried each one! The Royal Hotel pub in Runswick Bay enjoys a wonderful setting for tucking into a meal while watching the ever-changing seascape.
The Swell Café Bar in Robin Hood’s Bay enjoys front-of-house views across the Bay. It has a smart contemporary feel and is particularly known for its boozy hot chocolate.
The Cliffemount Hotel in Runswick Bay specialises in fish and locally caught seafood. The restaurant offers sweeping views across the Bay.
Real Meals in Saltburn is run by Lorna who is passionate about regional food. A favourite with locals, it’s a great café and deli. She also organises the Saltburn Farmers’ Market and Food Festival.
Bridge Cottage Bistro in Sandsend has a delightful garden for eating al fresco, a contemporary interior and a chef who is passionate about serving classic dishes with a modern twist.
Sandside Café perched on the beach side at Sandsend is a relaxing spot where you can enjoy a warming drink or light meal while watching the oystercatchers patrolling the golden sands below. Tea, Toast and Post in Robin Hood’s Bay serves great food in a quirky setting. Listen to golden oldies on the free jukebox as you enjoy a break! Camfields is on the seafront at Saltburn and a top spot for watching the world go by while enjoying excellent coffee and cake. You can sit outside, even in winter, as blankets are provided! Wits End Café in Sandsend prides itself on its good simple food served in a relaxing walled garden and yet it’s only 50 meters from the sea overlooking the bay.
Runswick Bay Hotel in Runswick serves hearty, traditional food which is perfect to give you energy for a lovely long coastal walk! Birch Hall Inn in Beck Hole is possibly North Yorkshire’s smallest and quirkiest pub, with two tiny bars and a traditional sweet shop squeezed in between! Dogs are also made very welcome. Laurel Inn in Robin Hood’s Bay is a charming unspoilt pub with beams, real fire and a focus on serving good real ales. The Runcible Spoon café in Hinderwell has a bright, homely feel, fresh food, friendly service and features special music evenings.
The Quarterdeck Café at Boggle Hole YHA has breathtaking sea views and is an ideal stopping-off point during a walk along the coast. In winter you can toast your toes in front of the wood burning stove!
Try a taste of Robin Hood’s Bay while you’re here. Many cafés serve locally ground coffee from The Baytown Coffee Company.
Cleveland Corner in Staithes offers dishes such as crab bisque, fishy feast and cod wellington as well as delicious puddings!
The Coffee Shack at the bottom of Robin Hood’s Bay is now a creperie, serving different flavoured sweet and savoury pancakes.
Boggle Hole Quarterdeck Cafe © Tony Bartholomew
Saltburn surfers at sunset © Colin Carter
The coast isn’t just about buckets and spades, and sitting with an ice cream in your hand wearing a knotted handkerchief on your head. We take a quick look at more active ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Surf the Waves
The Yorkshire coast is becoming something of a surfing mecca. It’s particularly good for beach breaks, the best type of wave to start surfing on, but there’s plenty of rock spots with reef and point breaks too for the more experienced. Hire boards and get expert tuition from FlowSurfcoaching.com, Saltburn-surf.co.uk, Sandsend Surf School & Hire, and WhitbySurfSchool.co.uk
Fishing and foreshore foraging
Spend a day on the foreshore with Real Staithes and learn how to forage edible finds, catch lobsters or recreate ancient paint palettes using materials found in the cliff sides and combed from the beaches. You could also try a mackerel fishing expedition where you not only learn how to land your fish, but how to prepare and cook it for a satisfying, fresh-as-can-be lunch. realstaithes.com
Paddle quietly along the coastline from Runswick Bay, taking time to gaze in awe at the towering cliffs teeming with sea life, looking out for secret spots that can only really be accessed by kayaks. If you join the paddle and dine trip there’s also the possibility of catching your own supper, landing a mackerel by dangling a rod over the side of the kayak before enjoying the fruits of your labour with a barbecue on the beach. Barefootkayak.com
Barbecuing mackerel with Real Staithes © North York Moors National Park
Fell running on the Cleveland Way National Trail © Tony Bartholomew
Geocaching in the North York Moors National Park © Mike Nicholas
Feel your inner Bear Grylls
Tangle Wood near Cloughton is where you need to be if you want to learn how to live off the land and test your ability to survive in the wild. With The Wild Woodsmen you can really go feral with an animal tracking and trapping course or spend up to four days honing the skills that would undoubtedly impress Bear Grylls. wildwoodsmen.co.uk
Get an aerial perspective
With Valley Adventures’s new rope challenge you can enjoy an adrenaline-fuelled high level challenge in Saltburn’s Valley Gardens. Their other activities include archery, stand-up paddleboarding, rock climbing and abseiling. Valley-Adventures.com
Sea kayaking at Runswick Bay © Fridge Productions Limited
National Trust Adventures
Join a National Trust ranger to learn more about the nature and the industrial heritage of the area on a guided walk, or take part in one of their fell races, kayaking or geocaching adventures. nationaltrust.org.uk/yorkshire-coast
Wildlife safaris with Yorkshire Coast Nature
Boggle Hole fossil hunting with Hidden Horizons © Tony Bartholomew
Yorkshire Coast Nature organise wildlife safaris where you might spot anything from snakes, butterflies, whales, porpoises or birds of prey. For those wanting to capture the moment on film, there are also specific wildlife photography courses with practical tips and insights from award-winning professionals. yorkshirecoastnature.co.uk
Find out why geology rocks
This stretch of rugged Jurassic coastline offers adventures galore, whether it’s finding all manner of wildlife in rockpools or hunting out fossils and dinosaur footprints. Expert guides at Hidden Horizons can help fire your imagination to envisage what life was like 190 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed. hiddenhorizons.co.uk PAGE 45
Saltwick Bay © Mark Heslington
I’m totally biased since I work here, but my favourite place is Stoupe Brow on Fylingdales Moor. It’s where I feel calm and invigorated. Pick a bright clear day and enjoy a quiet walk on a conservation moor where biodiversity is at the heart of the way this special area is managed by the Hawk and Owl Trust. To enjoy both views and the archaeology, follow the wooden posts of the heritage trail from the car park on the left past the Ravenscar transmitter mast.
Staithes and Cowbar from Boulby Cliffs © Mike Kipling/NYMNP
We really love the stretch along the coast between Ravenscar and Staithes. It’s a stunning landscape where the moors meet the coast. Just below the cliffs, rockpools hide amazing creatures such as the tiny squat lobster. It’s always worth taking a closer look to see what’s on the foreshore, and you don’t have to go far to spot some other incredible animals. Just offshore, you’ll find the UK’s best spot for minke whales! In fact millions of animals, from tiny insects to huge whales, migrate down this stretch of the coast.
Minke whale © Steve Race
Curlew © Mike Nicholas
The view inland will reward you with that wonderfully liberating feeling of being in open space. In April and May, listen out for the distinctive cry of the curlew, look up and spot it gliding overhead. By July you are into the peak season for butterflies and day flying moths (caterpillars can be found year-round). The summer holidays see the heather blooming at its finest. Look out for buzzards circling on thermals, or the seemingly rocket-propelled merlin flying low as it hunts over the heather. A rare treat is to see a hen harrier loom into view over the horizon. It’s worth taking binoculars and remember, this can be an exposed moor so dress accordingly!
Short eared owl © Mike Nicholas
You can download walking routes from www. hawkandowl.org/fylingdales including a four-mile circular route around Howdale and Brow Moor which includes one steep slope. There’s also a twomile flat heritage trail where you can see Neolithic rock art from c.3000BC and step atop one of the Bronze age burial mounds c.1900 BC.
Richard Baines, YorkshireCoastNature.co.uk Saltburn is a wonderful town of two halves. Down by the sea there are the beautiful golden sands, spectacular cliffs, a 145-year-old pier, and some of the best surfing in the UK. At the top of the cliff, Saltburn is full of quirky shops and great places to eat and drink. You can avoid the steep walk up to the town by taking a trip on the Victorian water-balanced cliff lift, probably the oldest of its kind still in operation. Check out The Sitting Room Café, Drift Surf Shop and The Saltburn Framing Company in the old Station Building. Wander along Milton Street to find several cafés. The farmers’ market on the second Saturday of each month is worth a look.
Afterwards you can reward yourself with fine pub grub at the welcoming Falcon Inn. If you are travelling back towards Sleights, stop at the enchanting Falling Foss tearooms to enjoy a scone or two. Tanya Eyre, HawkandOwl.org/fylingdales
Richie Mitchell, FlowSurfSchool.com PAGE 46
Saltburn surfers © Mike Nicholas
The Dock, Robin Hood’s Bay © Mike Kipling
Dinosaur footprint © Hidden Horizons
One of my favourite places is Cloughton Wyke, just north of Scarborough. Jurassic rocks dating back 165 million years form the cliffs. You can also see this distinctive stone in attractive local buildings. These sandstones were formed by large rivers flowing over the area, and Jurassic plants flourished on the river banks. Animals came to eat this lush vegetation and of course, 165 million years ago those animals were the dinosaurs! The sandstones not only contain the remains of plants, and fossilised ripples, but also amazing dinosaur footprints, ranging from a few centimetres long to over one metre.
Robin Hood’s Bay gets my vote, as there is so much to do for all ages and all the family. Start with a pint of Baytown Bitter in the Victoria Hotel on the cliff top overlooking Baytown, the old village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Then meander through the cobbled pedestrian-only streets and alleyways, seeking out smugglers’ haunts and hideaways. Take a beach walk visiting Boggle Hole and end at the Raven Hall Hotel in Ravenscar with fantastic views back to Robin Hood’s Bay. Return via the old Ravenscar Alum Works, now a National Trust site. You might also go to Trailways cycle hire at the old railway station in Hawsker, at the top of the hill above Robin Hood’s Bay, and enjoy a ride on the disused railway line from Whitby to Scarborough (the ‘Cinder Track’). It’s downhill all the way to Robin Hood’s Bay, then a gentle climb to Ravenscar before levelling out on the run to Scarborough. There’s moorland on one side of the line and the sea on the other.
As a palaeontologist I am spoilt by the richness of our coast, with around 200 million years of Earth history laid out in the stunning cliffs and bays.
The footprints are not the easiest thing to see, so it is best to join somebody who knows where to look… Will Watts, Hiddenhorizons.co.uk
After all that if you’re looking for somewhere to eat, Smugglers is an atmospheric candlelit bistro in a 300 year-old building on the dock at Robin Hood’s Bay. There’s an excellent selection of seafood and meat from local suppliers.
It’s difficult to pick out just one spot along the North York Moors Coast as there are so many different and beautiful spots to choose from, but one special place for me is Runswick Bay. Walk across the sandy beach to the far side of the Bay and as you look back at the huddle of cottages and then towards the towering cliff face you get that lovely feeling of being away from normal life. As you walk up the coastal path and onto the headland the view just gets better as the full glory of the coastline emerges.
Paul Johnston, Baytownrhb.com
Gareth Williams, largeoutdoors.com I love Saltburn by the Sea. It’s quirky and has such a deep rooted history: a Jurassic coastline, smuggling heritage, Victorian engineering achievements such as the Pier, and it’s now enjoying a renaissance as a relaxing seaside destination. The Cleveland Way hugs the coastline and follows a steep path up to Huntcliff, offering stunning views. It’s great to just drift through the Valley Gardens – you’ll find a miniature railway, Italian gardens and a tea room so there are plenty of different focal points and ways to entertain your family. Simon Palmer, valley-adventures.com
Huntcliff, Saltburn © Mike Nicholas
Rosedale old railway and ironstone mine © Chris Ceaser
The Whitby Jet Heritage Centre © Tony Bartholomew
Looking at the tranquil landscape of the North York Moors, it’s difficult to believe that this was once an essential contributor to the industrial revolution, thanks to the rich natural resources found underground in this area.
Experience life underground at the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum where you can see how ironstone was drilled and blasted over a century ago. During the tour, a visitor is invited to light the fuse and set off the blast. Don’t linger!
There were dozens of ironstone mines within the National Park together with several short-lived blast furnace sites. Ironstone was once Britain’s principal source of iron and a key material during the Industrial Revolution. Much of it was found in Rosedale where the population grew from 558 to almost 3000 in just 20 years thanks to the massive development of mines and kilns. There was also a maze of underground workings under Roseberry Topping and elsewhere in the Cleveland Hills. Look closely and you’ll notice places where alum was once quarried. Alum was used to fix dyes in textiles and make leather supple. At one time most of the English alum supply came from the fringes of the North York Moors National Park and along its coastline.
Find jet and learn about alum and how it was used, during a coastal craft foreshore experience near Staithes with Sean and Tricia from Real Staithes. See the remains of the Alum House on the north side of Sandsend Beck and follow the Sandsend Trail (pick up the leafet from local shops). Mosaic at Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Skinningrove © NYMNP
Whitby has long been associated with jet. Jet is the fossilised remains of the monkey puzzle tree from the Jurassic period and is only found along the seven-mile stretch of the coast near Whitby and inland in a number of North York Moors valleys. Excavations show that the black stone was used as early as the Bronze Age, but jet is particularly associated with Queen Victoria and the jewellery she wore when in mourning for Prince Albert. You can still buy handmade items crafted from jet in Whitby.
Visit the Whitby Jet Heritage Centre in the town and discover the fascinating history behind the area’s very own minor gemstone. Walk part of the Cleveland Way National Trail which passes numerous alum quarries and works on the coast, including the remains of the Peak Alum Works, near Ravenscar, cared for by the National Trust and open to the public.
Mosaic at Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Skinningrove © NYMNP
We asked locals along the coast to recommend their favourite places and things to do, and have put them together to give you a series of perfect days. Distances between these villages are short so you could combine several days to make a perfect week…or more.
A perfect day in Saltburn by the Sea Soak up the Victorian charm of the unspoilt coastal resort of Saltburn by the Sea.
Make the most of the early morning freshness with a four-mile loop walking from Saltburn’s seafront up onto Huntcliff, following the Cleveland Way National Trail. The cliff sides teem with seabirds such as kittiwakes, fulmars and cormorants. Along the way keep an eye open for the three sculptures designed in steel to reflect the historic importance of the local metal-working industries. The large metal fish represents the fishing heritage; the unusual marker post denotes earth, air, sky and water; while the metal ring has 10 charms that each symbolize a piece of local folklore or culture.
Saltburn Cliff Lift © RJB Photographic
For a less energetic morning, take a short ride on the Saltburn Miniature Railway that trundles from the beachside Cat Nab station for half-a-mile to Forest Halt. Relax over a mid-morning coffee at the Valley Gardens Tea Rooms before strolling through the delightful Italian gardens, a mix of formal colourful flower borders and woodland glades dissected by Skelton Beck which leads you back towards town. If horse riding across a beach has always been on your ‘to-do’ list, then there is also the opportunity to do just that by booking a beach ride with Saltburn Riding School.
Horse riding on the beach, Saltburn © Fridge Productions Limited
Head for the Lower Promenade where you can sit on the balcony at the Seaview Restaurant and enjoy some of the best fish and chips served in the region while looking out at the stunning coastal scenery.
Saltburn Farmers’ Market © Tony Bartholomew
Enjoy a relaxing wander with a promenade along Britain’s most northerly surviving pier. If you’re visiting from May onwards, you’ll probably find some of the pier’s railings festooned with woollen characters created by knitting’s answer to Banksy. Each year the mysterious group of yarn-bombers take a different theme for their woolly creations.
Why not indulge in a bit of cake heaven at The Sitting Room, a lovely café that transforms itself into a cocktail bar in the evening. Alternatively make a beeline for Chocolinis where you can relax while tucking into homemade ice cream or a chocolate treat. If the lure of the seafront is too strong, then Camfields café should fit the bill. They offer blankets if the weather is a little chilly!
Stroll along the miles of golden sand to dip your toes in the sea before making the climb up to Saltburn town or take the quirky cliff lift to the top.
For a different view of Saltburn, it’s one of the top places to surf in the UK with gentle, safe conditions that are suitable for novices as well as gnarlier waves for more advanced surfers.
Saltburn prides itself on its independent shops so head for the ‘Jewel Streets’ and tucked away corners of the town to discover gifts and other retail finds. If you’re visiting the town on the second Saturday of the month, you’ll also come across the farmers’ market which is ideal for stocking up on some great locally-produced treats.
With afternoon giving way to evening, it’s an ideal time to sit and watch the sunset so try a sundowner in a spot overlooking the sea such as the Spa Hotel, Vista Mar or The Ship Inn, before heading back into town for an evening meal. Tasty meals are served among 1940s décor at the quirky Yorkshire Pie and Mash Shop or try the popular Signals Bistro. PAGE 53
Staithes © Fridge Productions Limited
As you walk back from the lifeboat station you might think the village seems familiar – especially if you have young children who are fans of CBeebies’ Old Jack’s Boat starring Bernard Cribbins. It’s filmed in Staithes. See if you can spot the many locations used in the series. With lunch beckoning and the lure of the small sandy beach perhaps proving strong, you might want to buy provisions for a picnic. Enjoy a taste of locally caught fish, lobster or crab in The Endeavour Kitchen, or one of the local pubs such as the Cod & Lobster pub which has outside seating as close to the harbour wall as you can get.
Walk off your lunch by venturing a little way out of Staithes to climb up to Cowbar Nab to look back down on the huddle of cottages. The cliff side of the Nab is an important seabird colony. If you visit in spring you’re likely to be treated to the sights and sounds of a multitude of nesting birds including herring gulls, fulmars, kittiwakes and razorbills. From Cowbar keep walking, following the long distance Cleveland Way National Trail at least as far as Boulby Cliff which, at 203 metres high, is the highest cliff on the east coast of England. Retrace your steps for more fine views of Staithes and the coastline before making a beeline for an afternoon tea stop. Why not try Dotty’s Tearoom where you can also eye up potential purchases of vintage gifts and homeware in the adjoining shop.
A perfect day in Staithes Explore cobbled streets hugging steep slopes leading down to the harbour.
For a great introduction to Staithes, start with the Captain Cook & Staithes Heritage Centre. The centre houses an amazing collection of memorabilia over two floors and recreates a 1745 street scene, including the grocer’s shop in Staithes where the great explorer Cook first worked before the draw of the sea took him to Whitby. Continue with your own exploration, wandering the streets to find the eight, three-dimensional murals which are part of the Staithes Illusion Trail. The narrow streets and snickets have evocative sounding names such as Gun Gutter and Barbers Yard. All the murals were painted by world-renowned trompe l’oeil artist and Staithes resident, Paul Czainski.
From here, it might be time to take a look in one of the galleries. If you’re visiting in September then join in with the popular and quirky Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage when houses are transformed into pop-up galleries and musicians play in the streets. You can buy a locally-made souvenir from the Staithes Arts and Crafts Centre or sit and enjoy the tranquil garden at St. Peter’s Centre where you can admire the mermaid and fish carvings created by local chainsaw sculptor Steve Iredale. A day isn’t really long enough… It’s worth staying a little longer in Staithes, perhaps picking up a new skill. You could join local fisherman Sean on his fishing boat, All My Sons (book in advance) and venture out into the sea for a spot of mackerel fishing. Try your hand at painting by booking onto one of the weekends held at Staithes Art School, or join one of the Printing from Nature courses held by Stef Mitchell. For those who are itching to learn a new craft, head to Cleveland Corner and join one of the regular knitting and felting workshops.
Continuing the maritime theme walk over the bridge and see if you can spot one of the traditional local fishing boats, a coble, moored in Staithes Beck. Imagine what life here was like when Staithes was regarded as one of the largest fishing ports on the north east coast of England, with around 300 men fishing from coble boats that launched from, and landed on the beach.
Fishing coble at Staithes © Volunteer Brian Nicholson
Near the harbour you’ll see the RNLI Lifeboat Station which is manned by volunteers from the village – they’d really appreciate a donation. View the short film telling the moving story of the RNLI in Staithes and Runswick. If you’re there on a Sunday morning in winter or Monday evening in summer, then you might also catch sight of a lifeboat practice session.
Cycling in Staithes © Tony Bartholomew
A perfect day in Robin Hood’s Bay and Boggle Hole Quaint cottages, narrow alleyways bursting with maritime and local folklore.
Boggle Hole, so-called as it is said to be a hiding place for hobgoblins, is also an amazing place for rockpooling and fossil hunting. Hidden Horizons can take you on a guided hunt that may well turn up some dinosaur footprints as well. Exploring over, head to the beautifully refurbished pirate-themed YHA nestled in Boggle Hole where you can sit on the terrace in the Quarterdeck Café and enjoy a drink looking out over the fabulous sea view.
On your way in to Robin Hood’s Bay pay a visit to Old St Stephen’s, a church dating back to 1822 with commanding views across the coastline. The church’s interior remains virtually unaltered since it was built. Look out for the memorials to shipwrecks and maidens’ garlands. Then stroll outside and wander through the tiny passages imagining those times when smuggling was rife and houses were said to be connected by cupboards or tunnels in the cellars.
Why not have a drink at The Bay Hotel which has a wonderful position right on the sea front or retreat to the aptly-named Smugglers Bistro for an evening meal before a final night cap at Ye Dolphin pub.
For a great rundown on the village’s smuggling history, venture into Robin Hood’s Bay Museum, housed in what used to be the Coroner’s Room and Mortuary. Robin Hood’s Bay © Mike Nicholas
Wander down to the Old Coastguard Station which is now home to the National Trust’s Visitor Centre and find out more about the rich marine life in the bay. Around 170 million years ago Robin Hood’s Bay would have been a deep sea bed and today you can still find evidence of the creatures that would have existed back then, including dinosaurs. While you’re there, pick up a Tracker Pack and go on a fossil hunt on the beach once the tide goes out.The pack also contains information for carrying out a rockpool recce and a route map for a two kilometre walk along the bay and cliff path to the delightfully secluded cove of Boggle Hole. YHA Boggle Hole © YHA
Robin Hood’s Bay © Fridge Productions Limited
Robin Hood’s Bay from Ravenscar © Mike Kipling
While the morning was all about great views from high spots, this afternoon delves into a fantastic woodland valley that uncovers some real coastal gems. Start off from Hayburn Wyke and follow the trail through the wooded nature reserve to come to a secluded rocky cove where a waterfall tumbles to the beach. Join a National Trust guided ranger walk to find out more about the wildlife and landscape. Wandering back, pop into the 18th century Hayburn Wyke Inn where you can sit in the tranquil gardens with a drink in-hand. Pick up the former Scarborough to Whitby railway (the ‘Cinder Track’) for an easy 2 mile stroll to Cloughton’s old Victorian station house that is now a tea room set in a half-acre of gardens. Then retrace your steps until you go under the road bridge. Then climb up onto the lane by the steps, and turn left down the lane towards the sea, returning to Hayburn Wyke via the Cleveland Way National Trail.
Perfect days... Fylingdales Moor, Ravenscar and Hayburn Wyke “Variety is the spice of life”, they say and with that in mind this day out packs in a real mixture of things to see and do.
Start with a walk across Fylingdales Moor, a beautiful conservation area that is managed by the Hawk and Owl Trust and is a haven for wildlife as well as brimming with historical remains. To help, download a four-mile circular route from the North York Moors National Park’s website for a superb walk across Fylindales’ Howdale Moor and Brow Moor taking in Stoupe Brow.
Alternatively, for those looking for more adventure, book onto one of the Wild Woodsmen courses at Tangle Wood near Cloughton. Pick from a variety of experiences, whether you want to go on a coastal foraging walkabout, learn bushcraft or even take up the four-day Tribal Challenge, spending three nights living in the wood and getting in touch with your inner Ray Mears!
On a clear day you’ll be treated to great views across sweeping moorland and the dramatic coastline at Ravenscar. As you follow the route, look out for several prehistoric burial mounds and wild birds of prey. Then drive down to Ravenscar, a hamlet which is built on spectacular cliffs and has a fascinating history attached. Often described as ‘the town that never was’ Ravenscar was earmarked for development in Victorian times to become a tourist resort that would rival Scarborough and Whitby. Streets were constructed but the development came to an abrupt halt when the developer went bankrupt. Today, you can still see parts of the unfinished village and imagine Ravenscar as a hotbed of industry as you explore the remains of the old alum works. As you walk along you might also spot the colony of seals at the bottom of the cliff particularly in June and July when common seals come ashore to pup, while in November it’s the turn of the grey seals. Please remember to watch from a distance without disturbing the seals. Ravenscar is a great spot for a picnic so sit and enjoy the views before driving (or walking or cycling!) further down the coast to Hayburn Wyke and Cloughton. PAGE 58
Hayburn Wyke © Tony Bartholomew
Whitby Harbour © Tony Bartholomew
Whitby Abbey © English Heritage
A perfect day in Whitby
Whitby’s 199 steps © Rich J Jones/VisitEngland
You can easily spend at least a day exploring the nooks and crannies of the bustling harbour town of Whitby.
Have a scamper through Whitby’s cobbled lanes where there are plenty of interesting independent shops, art galleries and eating places to discover, and hidden corners with quirky names such as Arguments Yard. You’ll see plenty of jewellery shops devoted to the local minor gemstone Whitby Jet but you could also aim for The Whitby Jet Heritage Centre where you can learn more about its fascinating history. From here head round the corner to Tate Hill where the Russian ship ‘Demeter’ ran aground, an event that inspired author Bram Stoker so much that he included the shipwreck in his novel Dracula. You can continue reliving the vampire story by walking up the 199 Steps to St Mary’s Church and imagine how the Demeter’s only survivor, a mysterious black dog or Barghest, leapt ashore and ran up the steps. Once at the top, don’t miss a visit to the iconic landmark, Whitby Abbey. With the hunger pangs kicking in, head to the Whitby Deli and face the tricky challenge of choosing from the delicious array of items for a picnic, or choose from one of the excellent fish and chip shops.
Walk off your lunch with a wander around the working harbour. You might like to stop and watch people fishing off the jetty or perhaps take a trip on a boat out to sea. Whale watching trips leave regularly from Whitby harbour. If you’re lucky you may spot minke, northern and humpback whales as well as seals, dolphins and porpoises. Landlubbers might prefer to find out more about the town’s heritage and fishing traditions by heading to the Whitby Museum or to the Captain Cook Museum. PAGE 61
Tides Cafe, Sandsend © Tony Bartholomew
Duck road sign, Sandsend © Tony Bartholomew
Sandsend has a surprising number of great places to eat for such a small village. Try tasty seafood dishes at the Hart Inn or Sandside Café, or maybe afternoon tea at the Wits End Café with its walled garden. The Bridge Cottage Bistro at the entrance to Mulgrave Estate has a lovely garden to eat in, as well as a Scandinavian-style indoor area. For something even smarter, Estbek House offers fine dining in a beautiful setting. Both restaurants have a passion for using locally-sourced ingredients and serve excellent fish dishes. At the top of the bank on the road up towards Staithes is the village of Lythe where you can arrange to see the remarkable collection of Anglo-Scandinavian carved stones at St Oswald’s Church. There are fine views from the church across to Sandsend and beyond to Whtiby. The Cleveland Way National Trail rises steeply from the foot of Lythe Bank initially following parts of the track of the old Whitby-Saltburn railway.
Groynes at Sandsend © Mike Kipling
A perfect day in Sandsend
Bridge Cottage Bistro, Sandsend © Tony Bartholomew
A nostalgic, relaxing day enjoying the feel of sand beneath your feet.
After the bustle of Whitby, Sandsend is a complete contrast. With around three miles of sandy beach, it’s a great spot to just sit and look out to sea, enjoying the swish of the waves and looking for the perfect shaped pebble to take home. Take a walk to the cliffs and paddle in rockpools or stretch your legs, perhaps walking along the coast to Whitby – you can see the distinctive outline of the Abbey from Sandsend beach. If you’re visiting on a Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday (closed in May), head for the entrance to Mulgrave Estate where you can pick up a permissive path that leads into the woods and up to the ruins of Mulgrave Castle.
Kettleness near Runswick Bay © Fridge Productions Limited
From here, head a short way down the coast until you come to Runswick Bay where the road dips suddenly to reveal a hidden huddle of picture postcard cottages and a beautiful sweeping bay. Weave your way along the tiny paths and see the white-painted thatched cottage, which is perched right by the sea. This former coastguard’s house is probably the village’s most photographed house! Walk along the beach and catch sight of Hob Holes, small caves where hobgoblins were reputed to live. This included one that was supposed to cure whooping cough, so mothers took their ailing children there and called out a rhyme, asking for a cure. Some of the houses seem very precarious, as they are perched on narrow terraces overlooking the sea. In the spring storms of 1682, virtually the whole village of Runswick sank towards the sea, but all the residents escaped as they were attending a funeral out of the village at the time. There are several places to eat or enjoy a drink with a great view: the Runswick Bay café down by the beach, the Runswick Bay Hotel, or Royal Hotel. The Cliffemount Hotel offers panoramic views and a 2AA rosette restaurant.
A perfect day in Port Mulgrave and Runswick Bay Cake and the coast – what a perfect combination!
Start your day in the tiny and quiet Port Mulgrave, once used during the ironstone mining industry, and now being gradually reclaimed by nature apart from a few fishermen’s huts. The only traces of the mining industry that remain are the old jetty and tunnel entrance. At the top of the cliff you’ll find the Ship Inn, no longer a pub but a lovely tea room complete with great cake! Nearby in Hinderwell is the Runcible Spoon, another quirky café much loved by locals.
Runswick Bay © Fridge Productions Limited
Runswick Bay © Fridge Productions Limited
Some of the best stargazing locations worth checking out:
Sit and gaze at the stars down by the long expanse of sandy beach.
With vast expanses of unpolluted skies and a drier climate, the stretch of coastline that includes the North York Moors National Park is one of the best places to see incredibly starry skies.
The highest cliff top on the east coast of England, Boulby feels like it’s the middle of nowhere and yet it’s less than half a mile from the main road between Saltburn and Staithes.
The only nod to artificial light is from a few houses in the hamlet, but beyond that Kettleness, between Runswick Bay and Whitby, offers a cliff top with a superb dark sky vantage point where, on a clear night, you can spy up to 2,000 stars at any one time. With the right conditions, you may even be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.
According to astronomer and dark sky hunter Richard Darn, the clearer skies that result from the north east’s drier climate and the uninterrupted horizons at numerous cliff top locations, make the stretch of coastline between Saltburn and Scarborough a potential haven for sky watchers.
Ravenscar and Boggle Hole are also excellent locations for stargazing, being right on the coast and away from too much development. Look out for events held at Ravenscar with Hidden Horizons, and at YHA Boggle Hole. Between October and March, Scarborough & Ryedale Astronomical Society also holds monthly public stargazing events in Dalby Forest. Along with the two National Park Centres at Sutton Bank and Danby, Dalby Forest is an official Dark Sky Discovery site, which means they all have truly dark skies and are some of the best places in the country for stargazing.
Star Trails, Whitby Pier © Mark Bulmer of Ebor Images
Discover the magic of the North York Moors at two fantastic National Park centres. The Moors National Park Centre set in an idyllic spot on the banks of the river Esk near Danby has adventure play areas, a mud kitchen and riverside trails to enjoy outside. Inside find interactive exhibits and Inspired by…, a beautiful contemporary art gallery. Over at Sutton Bank National Park Centre, kids can enjoy the natural play area while thrilling walks and bike rides set off straight from the door – there’s yearround bike hire and a mix of family cycle routes and more adventurous off-road thrills.
Cycling at Sutton Bank © Tony Bartholomew
Each visitor centre has a café and gift shop specialising in local produce and crafts, and they also run children’s events in the school holidays. Admission is free. The National Park also have a mobile information unit at Robin Hood’s Bay station car park every summer, where you can get local, expert advice from their Rangers and Voluntary Rangers on things to see and do. Rockpooling at Runswick Bay © Volunteer Brian Nicholson
It’s not exactly a secret, but it is a surprise to some – the North York Moors National Park has a spectacular coastline! The name may imply it’s mainly about moors, but it also boasts 26 miles of sea cliffs, sandy bays, picturesque harbours and age-old fishing villages – not to mention another 20 miles or so of local coast outside the National Park boundary, between Filey and Saltburn.
Natural adventure play area, Sutton Bank © Chris J Parker
For all the information you need to get the most from the coast, pick up a copy of the annual visitor guide, ‘Out and About in the North York Moors’ – which contains inspirational features, event listings, and details of attractions right across the National Park.
The Moors National Park Centre, Danby © Chris J Parker
And the best way to explore it is to dive in and discover its highlights. The National Park and its local partners run coastal events all year round, a chance to try new activities and discover hidden spots, whether that’s sea kayaking at Boggle Hole, rockpooling at Runswick Bay or geocaching at Hayburn Wyke. See northyorkmoors. org.uk/events for full details. If you’re looking for a walk or bike ride by the sea, the National Park website should be your first port of call. Guided walks with expert volunteers give you the lowdown on our coastal stories, legends and heritage, or you can strike off on your own by downloading a free walking route or bike ride. Download walking routes at www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/walking Download cycling routes at www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/cycling PAGE 68
Join a free guided walk © Volunteer Brian Nicholson
Become a Yorkshire Coast Explorer with Hidden Horizons From rock-pooling trips, to fossil hunts and dinosaur walks we have something for all the family. We offer regular sessions all along the coast, as well as private bookings and school trips.
Inspired by... gallery
reated as a showcase, this beautiful gallery hosts changing exhibitions of work by contemporary artists who draw their inspiration from the landscape, life and colour of the North York Moors.
The stunning North York Moors National Park, with its heather moorland, ancient woodland, lush green dales and rugged coastline, proves a real magnet for artists who come from far and wide to capture this amazing place.
Open 7 days a week April to October 10am to 5pm (9.30am to 5.30pm in August)
Reduced hours in winter Check website for details
Midge Hall, Falling Foss, Whitby. YO22 5JD
Tel 07723 477929
FOR MORE DETAILS PLEASE CONTACT:
T: 07964 759 433 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hiddenhorizons.co.uk hiddenhorizonsltd
Explore miles of footpaths, world-class bike trails, Go Ape & Tree Top Junior, Forest Segway, Bike Barn, Pace Cycles, Cafes, Dalby Activity Centre, Pulpitations paper making.
01439 772738 The Moors National Park Centre, Danby, Whitby, N. Yorkshire YO21 2NB
5 miles north-east of Pickering. Admission charges apply. Discovery Pass available. For more information call 01751 460295 or visit:
Back cover image: Staithes ÂŠ Fridge Productions Limited