Robin Hood’s Bay has a name that was first mentioned in the 16th century, yet even today it remains as much a mystery as the legend of Robin Hood himself!
This rural walk starts in the village, which is in the parish of Fylingdales. The area is a site of special scientific interest as it forms part of the Cleveland Way, and is the start or finish of the Coast to Coast Walk, as well as being near the end of the Lyke Wake Walk.
Passing through Raw, a small hamlet to the west , it’s of interest to learn that fishermen who settled here were possibly linked with Vikings. They would move down to the bay to buy fish from cobles. These were flat-bottomed boats suitable for rocky beaches.
Access: Take the A171 road from Scarborough towards Whitby, forking left at Cloughton and continuing north beyond the off-shoot to Boggle Hole (right), and Ruswarp (left) to seek a sign: ‘Fylingthorpe 1.5 miles and Robin Hood’s Bay 2 miles off right’. [NB the Arriva bus service takes this route.]
Continue through Fylingthorpe, passing the fire station to your left, to reach St Stephen’s Church built in 1870. You pass the old or original Anglican Church built in the late 11th century on your return route down Raw Pasture Bank (B1447). It occupies a prominent site overlooking the village.
From St Stephen’s Church, return along Thorpe Lane to wind your way past the driveway to the station and St Bede’s Chapel beyond.
Passing the fire station and school to the right, reach a shop and turn right up Church Lane. Passing a garage take the first turning left along a narrow, hedged lane. Keep to the lane as it veers right over a ford, with views seawards.
Bowman’s Lane goes off right as you bear left up the hill. Entering High Normanby the views are incredible, and one appears to be on a small island with sea to the north, east and south! Savour the solitude of this hamlet, with Abbey View House aptly named to the right.
Meeting the B1447 turn right towards Whitby four miles, on the edge of High Hawsker. From here you may view the windmill which is devoid of sails. Robin Hood’s Bay and Fylingthorpe lie 2.5 miles distant.
On the bend are holiday parks. Immediately beyond Bottom House Lane, do stop to see T’awd Abba Well, also known as the Boiling Well.
This site is immediately beside the road from Hawsker to Robin Hood’s Bay. The well is within a rather robust well house built of brick with a slab roof. A plaque on the wall of the well house reads: ‘Boiling Well. In the early 19th century Mr Joseph Brown piped water from this spring to a reservoir in the grounds of Whitby Abbey to provide a clean and reliable water supply to the east side of Whitby’.
The well appears in good condition, and when we viewed it, the water within was remarkably clear. It seems to issue from springs beneath the building. The name Boiling Well may refer to the movement of water.
Perhaps at one time the springs flowed more strongly and created a boiling effect.
Continue with care down Raw Pasture Bank keeping close to the roadside. Ignore a right turning from Old St Stephen’s Church as signed to Fylinghthorpe, three-quarters of a mile. Instead, continue along the B1447 keeping the church to your right.
This return route presents breath-taking views of Robin Hood’s Bay. Down a steep descent, with daffodils in spring time gilding the hedgerow, wind your way towards the bay top.
You’ll see the Cleveland Way off left and pass tennis courts on the right as The Bay Tree is approached. From here, turn right along the well - signed Thorpe Lane to return to St Stephen’s Church.
Distance: 5.5 miles approximately. Easy walking along country lanes all the way. Ideal for winter walking or cold days.
Refreshments: Plenty of facilities in Fylingthorpe or Robin Hood’s Bay.