50 Walks in North Yorkshire

Robin Hood's Bay and the Cleveland Way

Try this sample walk from the latest edition of 50 Walks in North Yorkshire.

About 50 Walks in North Yorkshire

Walking is one of Britain's favourite leisure activities, and this guide to North Yorkshire features 50 mapped walks from 2 to 10 miles, to suit all abilities.

The book features all the practical detail you need, including:

  • fascinating background reading on the history and wildlife of the area,
  • clear OS-based mapping for ease of use,
  • every route has been colour coded according to difficulty,
  • annotations for local points of interest and places to stop for refreshments,
  • summary of distance, time, gradient, level of difficulty, type of surface and access, landscape, dog friendliness, parking and public toilets.

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Sample walk: Robin Hood's Bay and the Cleveland Way

  • Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8km)
  • Minimum Time: 2hrs 30min
  • Ascent: 466 feet (142m)
  • Gradient: 1
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Paths: Field and coastal paths, some road walking, 14 stiles
  • Landscape: Farmland and fine coastline
  • Suggested Map: AA Walker's Map 12 North York Moors (eastern)
  • Start Grid Reference: NZ950055
  • Dog Friendliness: Dogs should be on lead
  • Parking: Car park at top of hill into Robin Hood's Bay, by the old railway station
  • Public Toilet: Car park at Robin Hood's Bay
Background reading

Walking the coastal path north of Robin Hood's Bay, you will soon notice how the sea is encroaching on the land. The route of the Cleveland Way, which runs in a huge clockwise arc from near Helmsley to Filey, has frequently to be redefined as sections of once-solid path slip down the cliffs into the sea. Around Robin Hood's Bay, the loss is said to be around 6 inches (15cm) every two years, with more than 200 village homes falling victim to the relentless pounding of the waves over the last two centuries.

Much of the east coast of North Yorkshire is designated as Heritage Coast. Offering special protection to this spectacular scenery, as well as taking care of the typical wildlife and plants, the designation also includes ensuring that people are given the opportunity to have access to the coast to enjoy the views. There is also a requirement to look after the inshore waters, as well as to take account of farming, fishing and forestry.

Much of the coast is managed by the National Trust, and the North York Moors National Park is also closely involved in the care of the coastline. During the walk you will see information and interpretation boards to help you enjoy the coastal paths.

The rocks of this part of the coast are rich in fossils, especially around Boggle Hole, further south, but are also susceptible to erosion. On the approach to Robin Hood’s Bay you should be able to see (especially if the tide is out) concentric curves of rock; these are the remains of a dome of rock, long since eroded away, which was made of both hard and soft rocks – the soft rocks have vanished, leaving the harder exposed. 

  1. From the car park, return via the entry road to the main road. Turn left up the hill out of the village. Just after the road bends round to the left, take a signed footpath to the right over a stile. Walk up the fields over three stiles to a metalled lane.
  2. Turn right. Go left through a signed metal gate. At the end of the field the path bends right to a waymarked gate in the hedge on your left. Continue down the next field with a stone wall on your left. Again, go right at the end of the field and over a stile into a green lane.
  3. Cross to another waymarked stile and continue along the field-edge with a wall on your right. At the field end, go over a stile on your right, then make for a waymarked gate diagonally left.
  4. Walk towards the farm, through a gate and take the waymarked track through the farmyard. Continue with a stone wall on your right, and at the field end bend left to a waymarked stile beside a gate. Continue with the hedge on your right to reach another stile before a footbridge over a beck.
  5. Cross the bridge, then bear right across the hedge line. At the field end, turn right along the next field-edge, with the hedge on your left. Bear left to cross the hedgeline again to reach the next waymarker and a signpost for Hawsker. Cross the stream and bear right. As the hedge to your right curves left, go through a gap on the right and over a stile, walking straight ahead through the field to go through a hedge gap onto the main road.
  6. Go right and right again, following the footpath sign, up the metalled lane towards the holiday parks. Pass Seaview Holiday Park, cross the former railway track and continue along the metalled lane, which bends right, goes downhill, crosses a stream and ascends to Northcliffe Holiday Park.
  7. Follow the Robin Hood's Bay sign right, and follow the metalled road, bending left at a gate and down through the caravans, bearing left then right. Just beyond them, leave the track to bear left to a waymarked path. Follow the path towards the coastline, to reach a signpost.
  8. Turn right along the Cleveland Way for 2.5 miles (4km). The footpath goes through three kissing gates and two stiles. It passes through the Rocket Post Field by two more gates. Continue to follow the path as it goes past houses and ahead through a gate along a road to reach the main road. The car park is directly opposite.
While you're there

Travel south along the coast to Ravenscar, a headland where the Romans built a signal station. Alum shale, used as a fixative, was mined here in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the middle of the 19th century a new resort was begun here, then abandoned. The streets are still there, but only one row of houses was constructed.

Where to eat and drink

Stoke up in Robin Hood's Bay before the walk, as there is nowhere else on the route. In the village there are several pubs and cafes, offering everything from a quick snack to a full-blown meal.

What to look out for

Near the village you will pass the Rocket Post Field; from the post rockets were fired out to ships in distress to affect a rescue by means of a breeches buoy; an interpretation board explains how.

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