The Scarborough to Whitby railway line seems to have 'grown' since we first walked sections of the dis-used track many years ago, and linked it to the Cleveland Way and local lanes.
I understand it to be 21 miles but a newly-erected metal waymarker near Sainsbury's in Scarborough updated recreation ground indicates a distance of 23 miles! It was opened on July 15, 1885 at a cost of 649,812 to construct. With an increase in tourism around 1923, unfortunately a decline followed after World War Two as road transport competed. With Beeching's cuts in the mid sixties, the last train ran on March 6, 1965.
The rails were quickly removed, but in the 1970s Scarborough Borough Council acquired the trackbed for a footpath and cycle path. The Scarborough end of the railtrail is near Sainsbury's car-park off Falsgrave Road, built on the site of Gallows Close goods yard.
From the children's play area head north as indicated beneath a graffite-covered bridge. Pass through cuttings and bridges to skirt alongside the playing fields – the site of the former Northstead Carriage Sidings. Crossing two estate access roads, step out over a four arch brick viaduct spanning Scalby Beck.
This leads into Chichester Close, built on the site of Scalby Station. At its far end turn briefly right along Station Road, and then left into Field Close and right into Lancaster Way. At the far end go through a gate into open countryside.
Crossing a stream, meet the A165 Coastal Road at Burniston. Use the crossing to take up the path on the other side between bushes.
Leaving Burniston you're soon in Cloughton where a welcome tearoom awaits you. A great restoration from the old station! Leaving Cloughton, enter the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
The trail starts a steady climb. Your route passes the old platforms of Hayburn Wyke Station and Hayburn Wyke Hotel is another popular refreshment stop. Your path continues to Staintondale where the station is now a private house.
Continuing northwards, the rail trail continues to climb to the former station at Ravenscar, to 631 feet above sea level – its highest point. Ravenscar has a Visitor Centre, a tea room, and of course the Raven Hall Hotel. Leaving Ravenscar you pass through Station Square and walk along Station Road to descend Peakside beside the National Trust Visitor Centre.
Rejoining the track, your route starts to descend through a large alum quarry which was also the site of brickworks. Bricks from Whitakers were used to construct Northstead Housing Estate and the Odeon Cinema which is now Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre. Beyond the quarry are heather-clad hillsides with superb views over Robin Hood's Bay.
Descend through woodland, crossing some deep valleys on large embankments before reaching the site of Flying Hall station. A bridge has been removed therefore descend to the lane and climb back up to track level.
Hidden amongst trees you may miss the old station platform, but enjoy the views past Middlewood Farm caravan site and the rear of grand houses in Flythorpe village. Another road crossing is made at Lingers Corner before your arrival at the former station at Robin Hood's Bay.
The station buildings now provide holiday accommodation and the village's main car park covers the station yard. You'll find plenty of inns and cafes in Robin Hood's Bay.
The station was the site of several railway carriages used as popular holiday homes for families until the closure of the line. Leaving Robin Hood's Bay, the former trackbed has been covered by back gardens.
You must therefore travel a short way along Station Road before turning left into Mount Pleasant North. At the end of Mount Pleasant North you rejoin the path.
Your path now starts to climb again around Bay Ness. You'll notice the Cleveland Way along the clifftop beyond fields to the right. Swinging away from sea views, pass another campsite and then cross with care the A170 at Hawsker.
Here again is a pelican crossing and the Hare and Hounds pub is just down the road. The station at Hawsker you'll find is the centre for Trailways Cycle Hire.
From Hawsker, the railtrail passes under the road to Stainsacre and then passes over the same road before continuing into Larpool Woods. Continue all the way down to Larpool Viaduct on the outskirts of Whitby. Cross the River Esk and the Whitby to Middlesbrough railway line. The Viaduct is 120 feet high and 915 feet in length and offers extensive views of the River Esk, Whitby harbour and across to the ruins of Whitby Abbey.
The railtrack finally passes between school playing fields and ends rather abruptly at the top of Stakesby Vale.
Should you wish to complete your walk by visiting Whitby itself, walk down Stakesby Vale into Bagdale. This leads to the bus and railway station to enable your return home by public transport if required.
The Tourist Information Centre is close by.
Distance: 23 miles approximately due to deviations from the railtrack over the years .