This is an undulating 9-mile cliff top walk from Scarborough to Ravenscar, which follows the Cleveland Way for the whole walk. The path only drops to sea level at Cloughton Wyke and Hayburn Wyke. The Cleveland Way is well signposted and you should have no difficulty in finding your way. If you are walking with your dog or children please be aware that the path is very close to the cliff edge in parts and there are sheer drops.
The Ordnance Survey explorer map OL27, the North York Moors – Eastern area covers the whole of the coastal section of the Cleveland Way. 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 weatherproof ‘Active’ version.
Start the walk at the Scalby Mills pub in Scarborough’s North Bay. This is located just past the Sea Life Centre where there is a pay and display car park. If you can find a space on nearby Scalby Mills Road (YO12 6RW), parking is free all day. Note that if you are planning to return to Scarborough using public transport, the bus route enters Scarborough through Scalby and the hospital, not Scalby Mills. This would mean a walk from the Railway Station to Scalby Mills at the end of your day. Of course, you can always park in the centre of Scarborough to avoid this. A walk through Scarborough, along the North Bay, is a pleasant enough way to start the walk and only adds a mile or so.
Cross the footbridge over Scalby Mills Beck and follow the obvious path upwards onto Scalby Ness. This is a good place to look back and admire the view of the North Bay and Scarborough Castle.
Continue along the clifftop path to Cromer Point. The views down to Jacksons Bay (Scalby Ness Sands) are quite stunning. This looks like an amazing beach to explore, although I have never seen anybody down on the beach. There are a few photos on the internet taken on the beach, so I guess there is a path somewhere to scramble down or maybe you can walk around the rocks underneath Scalby Ness at low tide, not sure which.
Cromer Point is popular with photographers. In winter the sun rises behind Scarborough Castle making for a great photo if you feel like getting up early!
The clifftop path continues alongside arable farmland to Crook Ness, Long Nab, Creek Point and Hundale Point. At Long Nab, there is an old coastguard lookout post (nothing more than a wooden hut really). The lookout post is white and can be seen from quite a long way off, so it’s a good landmark. This is now used as a bird observatory.
There is a stony beach at Crook Ness. A path goes all the way down to the beach if you don’t mind a short detour. Dinosaur footprints have been found in the sedimentary rocks here.
Just before Cloughton Wyke is Hun Dale. This is probably Yorkshire’s shortest dale as it’s only 450 yards long. If it is springtime this is a sea of yellow as the gorse is in bloom.
You can gain access to Cloughton Wyke by car, a narrow lane leads down from the Cober Hill Hotel. This is at the northern end of Cloughton village where the main road (A171) turns sharp left heading north. Go straight on to Ravenscar and turn immediately right next to the Cober Hill Hotel. It is about a kilometre to the coast where the road ends with space to park on the grass.
If you don’t want to complete this walk in one go, this is about the halfway point, so you could walk to Scarborough and back one day, and on another day, walk up to Ravenscar and return maybe along the Cinder Track which can be picked up at Ravenscar and followed back to Cloughton. The track goes under the lane you drove down to park your car.
There is a rocky beach at Cloughton Wyke which is a really nice little cove and usually very quiet. Coastal erosion is obviously in full swing here judging by the size of some of the rocks on the beach. Leaving Cloughton Wyke behind, there is a fairly steep climb up into the woodland around Hayburn Wyke. The path here has a few ups and downs with some excellent views back to Scarborough Castle and Filey Brigg. On a clear day, Flamborough Head is visible as well.
The area around Hayburn Wyke is deciduous woodland and owned by the National Trust. These woods are particularly attractive in the springtime when they are carpeted with bluebells, wild garlic and other woodland flowers. The path descends here to sea level through the woods. It follows the Hayburn Beck all the way down to the rocky beach, where it topples into the sea in a twin waterfall. It’s worth the small detour from the Cleveland Way down to the beach. The area around the waterfalls is a great place to have a rest or lunch, and you’ll often find other walkers here.
Staintondale and Ravenscar
The path climbs steeply out of Hayburn Wyke on a steep wooden staircase. It continues along the clifftop, climbing almost continuously through Staintondale. A look back towards Scarborough will reveal how high you’ve climbed. The path continues up to Petard Point and the high cliffs which lead eventually to Ravenscar.
As you reach Beast Cliff, the cliffs slope away from the path down to an undercliff. This forms a broad ledge, which gives the coastline a stepped look. These slopes and ledges are havens for wildlife and are thick with bushes and trees. You will often hear woodland birdsong mixed in with that of seabirds as you walk along this section. If you are lucky you might see a Roe Deer.
As you walk along the cliffs close to Ravenscar, you can look across to Robin Hood’s Bay. It now looks very close, but it’s still about 4 miles distant.
Finally, you reach the small hamlet of Ravenscar, little more than a few houses at one end and at the other a large hotel, the Raven Hall Hotel. The little square near the houses has a cafe if you are in need of refreshment. It is also the location of the bus stop if you are catching the bus back to Scarborough. The service is the 115 and it only runs twice a day, except for Sundays when there is no bus. The last bus is at 13:45. If you are walking back to Cloughton or Scarborough the Cinder Track can be joined here if you prefer an alternative route back. There is a much more frequent bus service from Robin Hood’s Bay to Scarborough if you want to continue your walk.
Whilst I take every care to ensure the accuracy of the route descriptions, I cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. The route described may be pleasant for walking in fine weather but can become slippery, boggy 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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