Walk from Saltburn to Redcar (7.5km)

This is a really nice beach walk connecting two seaside resorts, one in North Yorkshire and the other in Cleveland. If you walk at or around low tide you’ll enjoy the almost endless sands that form the beaches on this part of the coast.

The walk starts at the famous Saltburn pier, now the last seaside pier in Yorkshire. If you have spare time in Saltburn the Saltburn Valley Gardens are worth visiting. In Redcar where the walk finishes, you’ll find the (in)famous Beacon. This is a vertical pier that was nominated for the Carbuncle Cup in 2013. This is perhaps a little unfair, but its construction caused lots of controversy.

If you are looking for a longer walk you can continue northwards past Redcar’s old steelworks to the River Tees at South Gare.

Saltburn is where the long-distance walk The Cleveland Way meets (or leaves) the sea. The route continues down the Yorkshire Coast visiting Staithes, Runswick Bay, Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay, Ravenscar, Scarborough and Filey where the walk finishes (or starts).

Getting to Saltburn

If you are travelling by car there are two car parks near the pier. There is plenty of on-street parking up in the town. From the town, it’s a short walk down to the seafront and pier.

The Arriva X4 bus from Middlesborough to Whitby runs between Saltburn and Redcar. There are railway stations and regular trains in Saltburn, Marske and Redcar.

There are plenty of facilities right along this walk. You’ll find public toilets in Saltburn and Redcar. Refreshments are available from cafes and kiosks in Saltburn and Redcar. There are also cafes in Marske if you take a small detour to the centre.

This walk is covered on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OS 306 which includes Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar, Durham, Bishopsgarth, the Durham Coast Path, Linthorpe and Marske-By-The-Sea. With this map, you also get a code for use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The explorer map is available in both the standard paper version and the weatherproof ‘Active’ version.

Cliff Safety

Cliffs are changing all the time. Falls and landslides can happen at any time and without warning. Please stay well back from the cliff edge when walking along coast paths, and stay away from the undercliff on beaches.

Saltburn

Before it was developed as a seaside resort Saltburn was a small village surviving on fishing and salt panning. This gave the town the first part of its name. The second part from where it is located, Saltburn is where Skelton Beck (the “burn”) runs into the sea.

The industrialist and devout Quaker, Henry Pease brought the railway to Saltburn. He saw the town’s potential as a seaside resort to attract the ironworkers from his Teeside Ironworks.

Saltburn still has a railway link to Redcar, which in turn links to Middlesborough and Darlington. It also has good bus links northwards to Teeside and south to Whitby.

It is home to the last surviving pier on the Yorkshire Coast. Originally it was built in 1869 and when it first opened it was over 450m long. Over the years it has been shortened after suffering damage from storms and being struck by shipping. A successful campaign to restore the pier was won after it was damaged by a storm in 1974.

In the early 20th Century Saltburn Sands was used for motor racing and some of the top drivers of the time came here to race their cars.

Today the sands are a popular place in the summertime and Saltburn is now a centre for surfers with good surfing conditions most days.

You’ll no doubt notice the old tractors along the beach. These are used to haul the small fleet of crabbing boats in and out of the water.

Cliff Lift

The water-powered cliff lift, which opened in 1884, connects the pier with the upper town. A water tank on each car fills with water until the weight of the upper car reaches the tipping point at which it starts to descend the cliff. A steel cable connects both cars and the weight of the descending car pulls the lower car to the top. The water tank at the bottom empties, while that of the car at the top fills, and the process repeats.

Ship Inn

The Ship Inn that sits below Hunt Cliff dates back to about 1550. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, it was at the heart of smuggling operations. Villages and fishermen smuggled tea, alcohol, silk, chocolate and snuff ashore. The goods were then sold by the local shopkeepers.

Dogs

There is a dog exclusion zone on the beach to the left of the pier as you look out to sea. This operates from 1st May to the 30th of September. This extends to the beach at the end of the promenade. You can walk with a dog on a lead along the promenade. A similar ban is in place at Redcar from the Regent Theatre along to Graffenberg Street.

Walk from Saltburn to Redcar

Walk from Saltburn to Marske

As usual with a beach walk, the best time to do this route is around low tide, although you can walk the whole route on the beach anytime. I suggest setting off a couple of hours before low tide and you’ll have lots of nice firm sand to walk on. If the tide catches you there are plenty of places where you can climb the sand dunes to escape the beach. A path runs along the sand dunes all the way along the beach.

Before setting off for Marske you might want to explore the area south of the pier. Walk south (if you’re facing out to sea turn right) from the pier along the promenade and access the beach near the Ship Inn and the row of cottages next to it. These are the buildings of the original village. If the tide is out you can walk quite a way on the sand/rocks under Hunt Cliff. This is a quiet area where you might see the odd seal on the beach or rocks.

Head back towards Saltburn and continue north along the beach, or promenade if you want a closer look at the pier and cliff lift.

St Germain’s Church

The village of Marske sits roughly halfway between the two resorts and as you leave Saltburn behind you should be able to see the spire of St Germain’s church in the distance. This is the only part of the original church that remains.

If you want to visit the spire and old churchyard, turn off the beach up a flight of steps next to the first groyne. These lead to a gate which gives access to the churchyard. Continue along the cliff top or retrace your steps to the beach for another 200 yards to reach High Street in Marske, which sits above a sandy gully. The 18th and 19th-century cottages here are the heart of the original village. There are usually a few small boats scattered around the gully, which make for an interesting photo.

Marske has some very nice cafes if you fancy some refreshment before continuing along the beach to Redcar.

Walk from Marske to Redcar

Leave the sandy gully and head north past the short promenade. Sand dunes flank the beach all the way to Redcar. You should be able to see Redcar in the distance and beyond it the steelworks. If it’s a clear day you should also be able to make out the headland at Hartlepool in the far distance.

As you approach Redcar, you’ll meet the many groynes on the beach here. If it’s very low tide you can walk around them otherwise you have to climb over them. I decided at this point it was easier to leave the beach and finish the walk along the promenade.

Redcar Promenade

The promenade has had a lot of investment recently and it’s a nice walk stretching for over a mile. It sits above the sands and a terraced sea wall. The beach here was featured as the sands at Dunkirk during the 1940 evacuation of troops in the 2007 film Atonement.

Along the seafront there is Zetland Lifeboat Museum with the world’s oldest lifeboat, the helter-skelter shaped Redcar Beacon, the Art Deco Regent Cinema, several pieces of public art, seats, boats and the Penguins where the walk finishes.

The sands near the Regent Cinema hide the stumps and roots of a 6,000 year old petrified forest, which depending on if the sands have shifted in storms, are sometimes visible. Out at sea, there are lots of wind turbines as well as container ships and tankers waiting to enter the River Tees just up the coast.

If you are returning to Saltburn you have several options, turn around and retrace your steps back or catch a bus or train back to Saltburn. The railway and bus stations are a short walk away in the centre of the town. If you want to extend your walk, the beach continues past the old steelworks to South Gare.

Redcar

First and foremost Redcar was an industrial town with much of the town’s fortune coming from the nearby steelworks. The steel plant shut down in 2015 with the loss of 3,000 jobs. This decimated the town and if you walk around you’ll see evidence of some of the dereliction this caused.

However, the long promenade with fishing boats pulled up onto it is one of the best along the Northeast Coast. The sands here have always been the pride of the town. The seafront area has been much improved recently and the Redcar Beacon built in 2013 was part of the effort to bring new economic life into the town.

The Beacon is a vertical pier and home to some small businesses, a café and a viewing platform. Designed to look like a helter-skelter, the building has been highly controversial with some people arguing that a normal horizontal pier would have been more fitting for the town. Whatever you think of it, it’s worth climbing to the viewing platform. From the top, there is a great perspective of the coast and town.

Zetland Lifeboat Museum

A short distance away from the Beacon is the Zetland Lifeboat Museum, which is well worth a visit. The boat arrived in Redcar on the 7th of October 1802. The local fishermen promised to man the lifeboat if any ship was in trouble at sea. True to their word the fishermen didn’t hesitate when first called upon on the 6th December 1802. 15 people were rescued after 2 brigs were blown ashore at North Gare 5 miles to the north of Redcar. The boat carried out many more rescues and over 500 people in total were saved by the Zetland.

The lifeboat was damaged during a rescue in 1864 and replaced by the RNLI. Arrangements were made to break up the boat, however, an angry crowd of locals prevented this from happening. After some negotiation, the Zetland was given to the town and it has been preserved to this day.

Disclaimer

Whilst I take every care to ensure the accuracy of the route description, I cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. The route described may be pleasant for walking in fine weather but can become slippery and dangerous in wintry or wet weather. On days when visibility is impaired by fog, rain, cloud or mist, some landmarks used as direction aids in the route descriptions may not be visible.

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Walking the Cleveland Coast from Saltburn to Redcar

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