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Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay Coastal Loop Walk

This is one of my favourite coastal walks – following the Cinder Track along the old railway line from Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay and then returning along the Cleveland Way.

We parked up on the road in Ravenscar just down from the Raven Hall Hotel. The Hotel is actually pretty much all that is exists of the dream to turn Ravenscar into a seaside town to rival Scarborough. With the railway coming to the area there was a dream to turn the sleepy village at the time locally known as Peak to a holiday metropolis.

Sadly, the Victorian entrepreneurs hadn’t taken account of the restrictions imposed by the rugged clifftop location, high winds and steep path to the beach. The dream sadly died but it leaves the village now as a favourite with walkers and hikers, as well as people who want to get away and enjoy the comfortable hotel and its clifftop views.

From the road you immediately get a wonderful view across the bay to Robin Hoods Bay in the distance

From the road we followed the signs to the Cinder Track. This track is a cycleway and footpath which runs from Scarborough to Whitby along the old railway line. The railway was closed in 1965 as part of the Dr Beeching Cuts, while the line and track had been removed by 1972, the local councils decision to use cinders to surface the track rather than crushed stone gives it its name.

The path travels down-hill through woodland along some cuttings and disused quarries until we met the Cinder Track.

Looking back there are also views of Raven Hall Hotel sitting on the clifftop.

The gorse was well and truly in bloom giving the pathway vibrant colour on either side.

There are many bridges where tracks and roads were carried over the old railway.

We continued on until we came to the beautiful stone farmstead known as Stoupe Brow Farm, not long after the enclosed path opens up and there are views down to the sea.

The path carries on through woodland crossing over Bridge Holme Lane down to Boggle Hole.

The path then travels through countryside and is flanked by hedgerows. Being early November the blackthorn bushes were packed with sloe berries which I would have stopped to pick if I hadn’t already got a freezer full!

Eventually we came to the little village of Fylingthorpe meeting the lovely Victorian villas at the edge of the village and the Parish Church of St. Stephen with its unusual tower.

It was great to look back and see the clifftop at Ravenscar where we had come from.

We continued to the top of Robin Hood’s Bay with the unique Millenium sculpture sitting at the top of the village. The artwork consists of a fallen tree trunk with a globe mounted on top on top of the globe is a structure with the year MM and some reliefs – strangely ET, and owl, a boat and Robin Hood!

The sculpture was never given a name but was funded by the council to celebrate the millennium. The sculpture was created by David Duncalfe a local and uses stone from the North York Moors. Apparently it was based on a theme of a tree of knowledge.

I had got up at 6.30am to watch the Women’s Rugby World Cup Final live from new Zealand that morning, so had breakfasted early. It was 12.00 by the time we reached Robin Hood’s Bay and the smell of fish and chips wafting from The Fish Box, restaurant on the top of the cliff meant we decided to take an early lunch.

The haddock was massive, fresh and delicious plus with chips and mushy peas we left for the walk down into the village with full bellies.

There are great views to be had from the clifftop here before walking down the narrow winding road into the village.

I couldn’t resist a quick stop at the Dinosaur Museum – actually an old fossil shop, but restrained myself from making a purchase.

The road winds down the hill but I am always intrigued where the little lanes, steps and pathways head to from the high street.

Eventually we met the sea at the Bay Hotel on the harbour front. I have spend many a happy hour in here in the past but this time we skipped the opportunity for a beer and retraced our steps a short while to pick up the Cleveland way path, past a takeaway chippy before taking some steps off to the left.

As the path started to rise sharply up the cliff, I began to regret having eaten all my large fish and chips, my wife complaining about an occasional fishy burp as I laboured uphill along the wooden steps.

At the top of the clifftop there is a great little view back into the village, especially with the tide being out.

We followed the path a field away from the cliff with great views over the sea for a while before starting to head under a perfect blackthorn/hawthorn arch.

Whilst the Cinder Track to Robin Hood’s Bay had been flat the Cleveland way section whilst a shorter way back to Ravenscar has a few steep up and down sections. The first of these is signed Boggle Hole.

Here we descend steeply to the Boggle Hole Youth Hostel and to a small bay. Our dog Bronte (a black lab) couldn’t resist stopping here for a quick dip. Boggle Hole was once a notorious smugglers haunt which once housed an Old Mill which now housed the Youth Hostel.

The cove gets its name from a Boggle - the local northern name for a hobgoblin, the mischievous ‘little people’ that were thought to live in caves along the coast as well as the more remote corners of the Moors. Local people used to believe that Boggles had healing powers, and would sometimes bring their sick children to holes, called “hob holes”, where Boggles were thought to live, in the hope that they would be cured.

Boggle Hole is also a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for its trace fossils, particularly the ammonites – Jurassic fossils shells of former sea creatures.

The final stretch of the walk has stunning views back to Ravenscar. We were lucky with the weather as the blue skies made the views spectacular as we followed the cliff edge.

There was another steep up and down section at Stoupe Beck before we continued back along the cliff path, past an old WW2 look out tower.

Eventually we reached the National Trust site of Peak Alum works. The alum industry has left a lasting legacy on the North Yorkshire Coast and you can read my blog about the Peak Alum Works on this link if you are interested.

Finally, we followed the Cleveland Way sign back up to the road where we had parked. This climb was about half a mile of steady up-hill just to get your lungs going before our drive back to Staithes.

A great walk with a bit of everything. It was about 9 miles in total. The walk we did mirrors part of the journey on this North York Moors Route Map, except we cut a section out by skipping sections 3-15 and following the path from points 2 to 16.

Hope you like the photos.


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