George Wilkinson heads for the coast at Goldsborough and finds a lovely quiet spot just up the coast from busy Whitby

GOLDSBOROUGH is a little village - a farm, a pub, a few old sandstone houses and an expansive sea view wide enough to show the curve of the earth. Plus, with Whitby down the coast in the grip of Endeavour fever, and Runswick Bay up the coast in seasonal throng, ours was a quiet segment.

We had a drink at the Fox And Hounds and would have had lunch but wanted to picnic by the cliffs in the sunshine with seagulls for company. Philip and Stephanie Younge have kindly said that patrons can leave their cars in the car park while doing the walk.

A wander down some pasture fields brought us to a grassy knoll, the site of a Roman Signal Station that had a tower, wall and ditch and communicated by fire and smoke to the Tyne and Humber Estuary and the cavalry unit at Malton. The threat was Scottish and Saxon raiders, 300 coins were found here and skeletons that probably showed stab wounds.

We continued down to the cliffs at the hamlet of Kettleness. The dominant building is the old railway station and you can see the route the track took. There were a few walkers resting on the Cleveland Way benches, their eyes on Runswick Bay and the headlands beyond.

The cliffs at Kettleness are moonscape, long ravaged by man for alum and by the waves, but popular with the seagulls and the rock doves though the latter are very similar to stock doves and feral pigeons (city dwellers who have gone wild and left their lofts).

It wasn't long before we decided this was the spot and stopped and dozed and chewed our sandwiches and watched the traffic. Closest, fastest and noisiest were the seagulls, swooping in the cliff edge vortexes, then further out, white triangles of sailing boats on a slow race, and then beyond and half-way to the horizon, a serene procession of commercial shipping.

On we ambled, met a few walkers and one remarked on our trekking poles - "looking for snow", a joke from the previous millennium. Whitby was visible but not Sandsend. Seaveybog Hill was neither boggy nor much of a hill, but nicely adorned with weather slanted thorn bushes.

There is a short cut back to the pub but it was too pleasant to abandon the cliffs just yet, not until Tellgreen Hill, also not notably a hill though it brought a slot of view inland over Over Dale.

Coastal hinterland is often messy, this area is not, with smallish hedged fields of barley, wheat, potatoes, brassica and rape, some managed with the help of grants from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. Overdale Farm echoes last year's troubles and to some might seem to echo the Roman Signal Station; a sign by the disinfectant wheel wash proclaims it has 'Sentinel Animals'.


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

1. Left from pub, Kettleness road, 100 yards, track on right between barns (signed). Fieldgate/stile after cattle shed to grassy track, 100 yards, stile/fieldgate and 11 o'clock across field.

2. Stile by info plaque on stone plinth (wood shed other side of fence), 2 o'clock downhill to stile in fence, pass chapel.

3. Stile and right to road. Into Kettleness.

4. Right to cliff-edge track/path signed Cleveland Way. Few stiles.

5. Stile and right (fence to right, signed Lythe and WW17), 150 yards, right (waymarked post) to track, keep straight on. Right to road and back to Kettleness.

Fact file:

Distance: Three and a half miles.

Time: Two hours.

General location: Coast near Whitby.

Start: Goldsborough.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way.

Date walked: Saturday, July 6, 2002.

Road route: North from Whitby on the A174, after Lythe take a right turn signed to Goldsborough and Kettleness.

Car parking: Roadside. Patrons may use pub car park.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Fox & Hounds Inn at Goldsborough (except Wednesdays).

Tourist & public transport Information: Whitby TIC 01947 602674.

Map: Based on OS Explorer OL 27 North York Moors eastern area.

Terrain: Cliff edge and hinterland.

Points of interest: The replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour is in Whitby until August 13, 2002.

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate.

Dogs: Suitable if sensible on 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.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 09:18 Saturday, July 13, 2002