North Yorkshire: Robin Hood’s Bay and The Cleveland Way
Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay (or ‘The Bay’ as the locals call it) really is a little gem of a place. Though it attracts many visitors and gets very busy don’t let this deter you. The first thing to note is that you can’t drive down to the village – well you can but there’s nowhere to park so you’re left performing an awkward about-turn and returning to the car parks at the head of the village. In any case the walk down is one to be savoured, with its nooks and crannies and haphazardly built small cottages sitting on yards and narrow walkways to explore.
The village survives part of it being swept into the North Sea in the past and a sea defence wall was finally built in the 1970’s.The hugely steep hill down into the village takes one directly to the beach where a very welcoming pub named The Bay Hotel sits. From here views can be had over the North Sea whilst taking a pint or bite to eat. Very popular is the small yard outside too. The last time I was there a travelling family of folkies who were performing at the Whitby Folk Festival were giving an impromptu performance in the yard whilst their children danced to the music. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and truly one of those moments you wish could last forever.
Ye Dolphin pub up on the road on King Street is also worth a visit. It actually has entrances from both the main streets in the village; apparently this was for the benefit of smugglers at one time of day and their clandestine activities. There are two other pubs further up the road out of The Bay which though not personally visited by me, look very picturesque from the exterior.
The village makes for a superb walk from Whitby, south along the Cleveland Way and is around seven miles in distance, mainly along cliff tops which reach up to 600ft high. The return journey can be either walked via the disused railway line running parallel to the coast or for the less energetic there are regular bus services for a leisurely return to Whitby. A point of interest along the walk is the ‘Rocket Field’ Here was where life saving implements were literally shot out into the sea for floundering fisherman many years ago.
The beach though not the largest is an interesting one. The views are excellent up and down the Cleveland Way via the cliff tops and its there we shall head next.
Along The Cleveland Way way to Ravenscar and on.
Depending on the tide times (and be careful about this), this walk can be done along the beach in the main. The other option is to take the coastal path on the cliffs. The first stop is Boggle Hole which is a large inlet, great for taking the kids searching for fossils and the local semi-precious stone, jet. Onward in the distance lies the curious resort-that-never-was of Ravenscar.
Ravenscar was the somewhat ambitious project of a businessman in the 1890’s His vision was to create a seaside resort to rival the popular Scarborough and Whitby. He had plans drawn and the first roads laid with drains and water supply provided. There was also a small railway halt built. To visit this area today is a very strange experience. Little is left of that broken dream. The fact that Ravenscar sat upon 600ft cliffs and was highly inaccessible to the beaches below appeared to elude the prospective benefactor and so Ravenscar was left abandoned much like it appears today. The remains of the crumbling railway halt can still be seen covered in brambles and bushes and there are a few buildings set bleakly on their own at the end of an empty road. Dig about a little and more roads-to-be can be discovered at your feet.
The other legend that Ravenscar is known for is The Raven Hall which is now a quality hotel and 9-hole golf course. Its claim to fame is that it was the real-life convalescing place of King George III, as depicted in the movie, ‘The Madness of King George’.
The Cleveland Way travels further down the coast to Filey Brigg via Scarborough. Filey remains an old-fashioned Victorian resort in many respects and has a terrific beach, well worth a visit. Before reaching Scarborough however there are delightful short walks again along the Cleveland Way which take one past Hayburn Wyke where resides a large country pub which is recommended. It’s accessible by road too. The last notable area I’d like to mention is the hamlet of Staintondale, with its cycle path and superb outcrops of rocky beaches reached through bluebell woods. The place is a joy.
Enjoy a little excursion down the coast of Yorkshire. Take my word for it, the variety and rugged beauty makes it well worth a visit for people of all ages.