Written by Maureen Robinson
In a rapidly changing world, it’s always refreshing to return to Filey, which has retained its olde worlde charm.
With a wealth of walks around Filey, this one remains popular on account of its variety, simplicity of route, and refreshments available.
From Scarborough, take the A165 followed by the A1039 Scarborough Road to the outskirts of Filey. It’s a short drive of about six miles to the start of this walk. Park as convenient near the bus shelter on Scarborough Road.
Start. Cross the road with care to find a broad track alongside the house, leading to Filey Field Farm. The public footpath is an obvious track with hawthorn hedging to the left. Hay and cereal crops are to the right, as you head directly towards the coast.
Swing briefly left with the track, alongside a ditch and hedging. Almost immediately, turn right at the end of a cornfield along a broad, grassy path between fields and heading to the coast.
Reaching the cliff-top, turn right along the Cleveland Way which presents a beautiful stretch of coastline along North Cliff. Unfortunately the cliff edge is very unstable. Please read warning signs!
Skylarks were frequently heard along this walk. Do listen for their song, often delivered so high above that the bird is unseen!
Reaching a post and wire fence, look in the field for Filey’s Rocket Pole. When opposite the pole, please read the plaque at ground level regarding the pole’s restoration in 2001 with funds from the Filey Community Chest. Passing the corner of the field, observe a sign indicating ‘Helmsley 109 miles’! (That’s along the Cleveland Way.) Veer right to a triangular stone monument marking the start and finishing point for long distance walks. Take a closer look at the places named. Next, turn right along a dry, sandy footpath, passing a pond in the hollow to your right.
At the car park, walk on the green to the seaward side.
There’s a pleasant seating area, a chance for a picnic. At the far end, cut across the car park to meet the road. You’ll find public conveniences nearby, and just beyond is the Cafe and Country Park Stores. A recreation area for children is conveniently sited opposite the cafe. A grand spot for refreshments, perhaps.
Turn left, with the cafe behind you, to descend the ravine at Arndale. Trees and shrubs attract many birds to this area. At the foot of the ravine is Filey Sailing Club. Here, turn right along the beautiful beach of golden sand leading to Coble Landing. This is a popular area for visitors. Observe the chalets, shops, cafes and Filey Lifeboat Station, along with several fishing cobles, though few remain nowadays.
Leaving Coble Landing, your route continues by turning right in front of public toilets, but wait. A brief deviation will reveal ‘High Tide in Short Wellies’. So keep straight ahead along the beach, passing a small area of children’s recreation. Reaching Ocean Drive Crazy Golf, see if you can find among the stone sculptures, half an oyster shell containing a pearl. Then, high above towers Filey’s ‘giant’ – an angler named Finlay. Created by sculptor Ray Lonsdale, he gazes out to sea, lamenting the demise of Filey’s fishing industry. Ray’s verse on the plaque says it all.
Now leaving the sculpture, return to the public toilets and turn left (as previously mentioned) up the tree-lined Church Ravine, heading towards North Cliff Country Park.
Reaching the road bridge spanning the ravine, stop! Ascend the few steps to the left of this bridge to discover a well. “The well stands on the site of one of a number in this area. It was once a source of fresh water for hundreds of years. It was also used by visiting Dutch fishing fleets who rolled barrels up from the beach to collect supplies whilst fishing off the Yorkshire Coast.”
Return to the road and continue to the top of Church Ravine. (You may decide to visit the lovely St Oswald’s Church nearby. Read some of the inscriptions on the gravestones. The sea has obviously taken its toll of life from the fishing community.)
From the top of Church Ravine, cross Church Cliff Drive and take the first turn left into Arndale Way, and swiftly right to enter Wooldale Drive. Keep to this drive until meeting its junction with Fir Tree Drive. At this point turn right along Fir Tree Drive to its union with Sycamore Avenue. Here, make a short exploration off right into Parish Wood. This six-acre site proved to be ideal as a wildlife sanctuary. During November 1996, the Filey Brigg Ornithological Group planted over 3,000 saplings, aided by local volunteers whose united efforts transformed the area. As vegetation became established, wild flowers will in turn have attracted insects, birds and mammals. Please read the information board for further details before following well demarcated paths around the wood.
Immediately north of Parish Wood is the site of an old tip. This 28-acre site towards the coast has been conserved by the Filey Brigg Ornithological Group too. By planting crops with a high food value, they aimed to attract a variety of farmland birds and winter migrants, many of which had decreased over recent decades.
Leaving Parish Wood, proceed along Sycamore Avenue and admire the delightful gardens throughout this small estate.
Remain on Sycamore Avenue as it swings past Cherry Tree Drive and Thorn Tree Avenue to rejoin Scarborough Road. Here turn right, and about 300m along the A1039 is your original departure point.
Driving distance from Scarborough: 12 miles return, approximately.
Distance of walk: 4 miles or so, easy walking.
Refreshment: Cafe and Country Park Stores (in Country Park), Coble Landing has several cafes, shops, ice creams etc.
Acknowledgements to Michael, the man behind the driving wheel.