George Wilkinson heads to Robin Hood's Bay for a bracing New Year walk.

HAPPY New Year all. Here's a walk from Robin Hood's Bay for a hard January day when a minimum of the other half million visitors per annum are of the same mind. The station car park was nearly empty; the first info plaque provided a set of bearings. On route you will be well informed by plaques on rocks, things and creatures marine, birds and lifeboat heroics. A surviving mince pie was consumed.

A promenade along Mount Pleasant, via B&Bs, splendid 1890s brick villas, and finally a wooden chalet brought the cliff edge path and eco-farmed fields. Some seagulls rode the wind from the grey sea; shapely windbreak thorn hedges were well populated with robins.

Stop at the view bench in the National Trust's Rocket Post Field and admire Ravenscar. A white-painted coastguard station stands on a hillside.

A stoat threaded through a stone wall that broke off at the edge of land long slipped away, and a recent cliff fall was fenced off. Cleveland Way runners slowed for the mud, the kinks, and the ups and downs.

Two becks broke over the cliffs and between them a path through scrub led to the cinder-track bed of the old railway line. A last mince pie was dispatched at an opportune bench and then the stroll back with fine views commenced.

Curiously, a gleaming 4x4 was being driven gingerly round what looked like an off-road circuit in an old quarry. Expect loads of walkers and dogs.

Finally, essentially, and energetically - the descent into the older and more intimate part of Robin Hood's Bay, and then along to the Old Coastguard Station. The high tide lashed its walls; the children lashed its interactive displays.

Buy a copy here of the 2003 Tide Timetables (60p); treat yourself to a copy of Yorkshire Fisherfolk by Peter Frank. A fisherman had caught one small cod and a pollock.

Fact File:

Distance: Four miles.

Time: Three hours.

General location: Coast near Whitby.

Start: Robin Hood's Bay.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way and on permissive paths.

Date walked: Monday, December 30, 2002.

Road route: Via Scarborough or Whitby.

Car parking: Use first and large, top car park off Station Road. Pay and Display but free during some winter months.

Lavatories: At Station Road car park but were locked, also near mini-roundabout and by The Old Coastguard Station.

Refreshments: Pubs and cafs.

Tourist & public transport information: The Old Coastguard Station run by the National Trust and North York Moors National Park Tel: 01947 885900. Open weekends, school holidays and half-terms and daily May 24 to September 28.

Map: Based on OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors eastern area.

Terrain: Cliff edge and old railway line.

Points of interest: Whitby born and bred Peter Frank, Channel 4's Russian expert, has written a brilliant social history of Yorkshire's inshore fishing community called Yorkshire Fisherfolk published by Phillimore, £17.99.

Difficulty: Moderate. Cliffs.

Dogs: Suitable, except for cliffs.

Weather Forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418

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 Left from car park to Station Road, dog-leg across road to Mount Pleasant North (Cleveland Way sign). As road bends slightly left at the end, join path (Cleveland Way sign) in front of houses then gate to cliff-edge path. See info plaque at gate for open-access areas along here, that are easily wandered via entry and exit stiles and gates.

2 At Rain Dale (valley with streams), footbridge then through gate on left and uphill by wall (signed Bay Ness to Railway Path). (Note: also open-access area).

3 Left to disused railway line (viewbench). At end, from Mount Pleasant North, first road left, first road right (Mount Pleasant South), left downhill to roundabout.

4 Gate on left to path down hillside and along sea-defence wall. Left in Robin Hood's Bay and down to The Old Coastguard Station. Uphill on road (local traffic only) to roundabout then up to Station Road car park.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 09:44 Saturday, January 04, 2003