Your Day Out: Rail trail destination is in sight

The old railway station in Robin Hoods Bay is the start of the final leg of the rail trail.
The old railway station in Robin Hoods Bay is the start of the final leg of the rail trail.

Robin Hood’s Bay is about 15¼ miles along the disused rail-track from Scarborough. Only 6½ miles of walking to your destination of Whitby! Whilst many walkers will find this an easy target, others may prefer to divide it into two small sections, ie 3¼ miles to Hawsker, and the final 3¼ miles from Hawsker to Whitby on another occasion.

At Robin Hood’s Bay on top of the cliff is the Victorian town that grew up around the railway station. Of course this helped to cream off a little of the tourist traffic, but the real town, a gem of the east coast, is down at the cliff base – a maze of traffic free ginnels or alleys. When the railway closed in 1965, the town could have died too, but thankfully it has prospered on tourism and some fishing.

On leaving ‘upper’ Robin Hood’s Bay, the former trackbed has since been covered by residents’ rear gardens. Consequently, the starting point of this final leg of the journey is easily accessed by referring to the accompanying map.

Start from the old railway station, with its car park, toilets, and several workshops. Just walk a short way along Station Road as arrowed, before turning left into Mount Pleasant North, at the end of which the path is rejoined, just to the left of the Cleveland Way.

Having descended all the way from Ravenscar, your path starts to climb again around Bay Ness. Look to your right to see beyond fields, the cliff-top route of the Cleveland Way.

You swing away from the sea views, and pass a campsite before crossing the main A170 road at Hawsker. There is a pelican crossing, and you’ll find the Hare and Hounds pub a short way down the road. You’ll notice that the station at Hawsker is now the headquarters of Trailways Cycle Hire, and features several railway carriages at the platform. You’ll also be pleased to discover a small cafe for refreshment.

Leaving Hawsker, the line passes under the road to Stainsacre, with further refreshments available at the Windmill Inn. The line then passes over the same road before continuing into Larpool Woods.

These lead all the way to Larpool Viaduct on the outskirts of Whitby. The viaduct crosses the River Esk, and the Whitby to Middlesbrough railway line. It’s 915ft long, and 120ft high, presenting extensive views of the river and harbour, all the way across to Whitby Abbey.

Keep to the track as it passes between school playing fields, before finishing abruptly at the top of Stakesby Vale.

This is it – you’ve made it, but to continue into Whitby itself, you must go down Stakesby Vale into Bagdale. This leads to the bus and rail stations, and the Tourist Information Centre.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the rail trail, and managed to complete each section on your days out.

Transport: Private or public transport. Bus services between Scarborough and Whitby are provided by Arriva Buses (service X93).

Distance: Robin Hood’s Bay to Whitby is 6.5 miles.

Refreshment: Inns and cafes at Robin Hood’s Bay. Trailways Cycle Hire and Cafe, Hawsker; Hare and Hounds Inn; Windmill Inn, Stainsacre.

Map reference: For the entire route, Ordnance Survey, Explorer Map OL27, North York Moors Eastern Area. Scale 2.5 inches to one miles.

l Note Larpool Viaduct

Construction of Esk Viaduct began on October 17, 1882.

The first locomotive passed over it on October 24, 1884.

The length is recorded as being 915ft (ie almost 300m).

The height from riverbed to parapet is 125ft.

It contains about five million bricks.

Supported by 12 piers it has 13 arches.

The structure’s weight is estimated at 25,700 tons.

It costs about £40,000 to build.