FYLINGTHORPE has seagulls, the coast is near. Soon their sound was replaced by the possibly similar one of children en mass at Fyling Hall School.

The school has a view to the sea south of Robin Hood's Bay and should encourage some budding naturalists because on the doorstep is a sequence of good woods. Just the thing to test out the school's motto: "The days that make us happy make us wise".

High Park Wood shows the influence of planting with a range of rhododendrons. Under these there was a colourful mix of primroses, bluebells, violets, geraniums, ferns and lords and ladies.

Oak Wood comes next and you see this mainly from above, the oaks stood out as the half of the canopy still quite bare. A track drops down into the trees to the tinkle of streams and the chatter of birds, and at the bottom, on Ramsdale Beck, there's a cottage with a 30-feet diameter waterwheel.

Carr Wood is the prettiest, with a lovely light through the birch and a pale delicate ground cover, notably from the white flowering stitchwort. Modestly white' is how Richard Mabey describes them in his Flora Britannica. The plant gets its name from a supposed remedy for sharp pains.

Not that you're likely to get a stitch on this modest stroll. It's quite easy going and continues in style over some high windy pastures. Here grazed cattle pale-belted across their middles, a lapwing chased a crow and the tracks were sandy. We had been on a loop inland through the woods, so were a mile or two from the water and 600 feet above it. Savour the sea views, a bowl of blue with high ground each side.

The first farm buildings you come across cannot be savoured. The main construction must have been architecturally weird when made, and now it's even stranger, with its modern ad-lib add-ons, and the place is a messy broadcaster of waste agricultural plastic that has spread down the lane.

After a fine house, the return is along the abandoned Whitby to Ravenscar railway line. And I can't think of an easier last mile, the track so smooth, the slope so slight, the slope downhill.

A tree-top level embankment gets you up into the branches, a cutting will hold any heat; a cyclist cruised by, local dog walkers circulated and we were back with time for a paddle half a mile down the road at Robin Hood's Bay.

Fact file

Distance: Five miles.

General location: North York Moors.

Start: Fylingthorpe.

Right of way: Public and permissive.

Map: Drawn from OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors eastern area.

Dogs: Legal.

Date walked: May 2007.

Road route: From A171 a few miles south of Whitby, Fylingthorpe signed.

Car parking: Roadside in Fylingthorpe.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Inn.

Tourist and public transport information: Whitby TIC 01723 383636.

Terrain: Woods and farmland.

Difficulty: Easy.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1 From Methodist chapel south along Middlewood Lane, right to Middlewood Crescent, into Middlewood Garth, snickelgate on left (fingerpost) and right, stile/fieldgate (waymark), uphill, stile/fieldgate and left up by hedge. Angle right near end of field to ladderstile/fieldgate.

2 Into yard and left after converted barn to track, gate, stone path by house and barns, gate into wood and right to path through grounds, gate on right and left to road.

3 From end of car/bus park on right, second track on right uphill into wood (signed bridleway).

4 Bridge over Ramsdale Beck, 100 yards, track swings right at houses (waymark), fieldgate (waymark) and uphill by fence by wood. Fieldgate into birch wood.

5 Left at end of wood (fingerpost), fieldgate at corner, through field by wall to your right, track on right at corner (waymark), 50 yards, left to track (waymark), gateway, fieldgate, downhill 100 yards then track loops right (fingerpost) for 100 yards then left and down to left of farm 6 Fieldgate into farmyard, track through, fieldgate out, drive. Right to road, sharp left-hand bend, 100 yards, fork left to track to join old railway line path.

7 Cross road and rejoin old railway line. Pass farm. Fenced path between fields on left (white waymark), 100 yards, stone stile to Middlewood Road.

Map of the walk>>