Written by Maureen Robinson
From Scarborough’s town centre, few are aware of an oasis of beauty on its immediate outskirts. The Mere, a little gem of picturesque seclusion nestles between the railway line and Oliver’s Mount, behind Seamer Road’s light industries.
The Mere is stunningly attractive in all seasons
This easy walk follows a four-mile route which may take less than two hours, but you could spend another hour or so appreciating the mere itself and identifying its trees, birds and wild flowers. Then there’s the attractive Mere Cafe to visit, providing hot and cold drinks and a variety of tempting snacks.
Start. From Scarborough’s railway station on Westborough. It was built in 1845 and designed by the architect George Townsend Andrews. This Grade II listed building was extended and altered in 1882.
From the railway station, turn right along Valley Bridge Road to cross Valley Bridge itself. A plaque to the right reads: “A bridge 30ft wide was erected by the Scarborough Valley Bridge Company, and opened as a Toll Bridge 1st July 1865. Purchased by the Corporation 12th June 1891. Tolls abolished 5th October 1919. That bridge was taken down, and this bridge, 64ft 6in wide erected in its place 1926-28. Opened 26th July 1928 by Mrs Wilfred Ashley.” Admire lovely views from either side!
Ascend Ramshill Road as far as St Andrew’s Church to your right. Now cross the A165 with care, to continue along West Street. You’ll see St Martin’s Square off left before passing the Southlands Hotel to the right. Then as you cross Esplanade Gardens, a fine red-brick house with green slate roof named Ruabon House is admired.
Next is Avenue Victoria where you turn right, passing St Edward The Confessor Roman Catholic Church to your left.
Meeting Filey Road, walk in front of Langdale Lodge on the right-hand corner, and cross the busy main road with care to enter Queen Margaret’s Road, with Queen Margaret’s Nursing Home at 19 Filey Road. Follow the path up the road, and as you ascend, magnificent views unfold. Veer left round the bend, and Parnell’s Wood lies to the right.
Passing a donkey paddock, your gentle descent leads to a “sunken” island at the road junction.
Keep straight ahead into Mere Lane, or alternatively enter the gateway to the mere, and follow the footpath parallel to Mere Lane. You’ll see the jetty in the corner, and the welcome Mere Cafe. Rest here perhaps for refreshment, or to feed the swans, geese and ducks which assemble here. Time to read and reflect on Seamer Mere’s history!
[Seamer Mere once covered an area of 40 acres and ranked as one of Yorkshire’s lakes. In 1844 the railway was constructed. By 1987 the lake was reduced to 10 acres.
The planting of trees and shrubs took place in 1900, but efforts to create an attractive park ceased until after the 1914-18 war.
In 1913 rowing boats and canoes sailed across the waters, and a cafe was opened. Fishing became the main activity. By 1923 lawns and flower beds had transformed the sedge-fringed lake.]
There have been many changes, including the loss of the popular Hispaniola, but in all seasons this area is stunningly attractive, and much appreciated by water skiers and visitors alike. Many bird-watchers frequent the area, especially when a rare species arrives!
Either follow the gravelled path to the northern end of the Mere, or continue along Mere Lane past a row of delightful homes overlooking the scenery. Just past the last property this lane unites with the gravelled path. We used to watch a kingfisher nearby. Either keep beside the mere and cross any bridge as you choose, or swing right from Mere Lane at an obvious ‘Welcome Centre’, and lane to Oliver’s Mount Race Circuit. Trees now screen the mere to your right, with silvery green willows in early spring heralding life’s re-awakening.
Your track runs alongside the railway line, with light industry beyond, along Seamer Road. Meeting the B1427, turn left to cross the railway bridge. Glance back toward the golden, gorse-clad hillside of Oliver’s Mount, your final glimpse of the natural world as you meet Seamer Road.
Turn right along Seamer Road, passing the old football stadium.
Eventually reaching Falsgrave Road, you face Bed King and the clock tower. Here turn right via Falsgrave with its shops, cafes, and inns to return, passing the magnificent Westborough Methodist Church to your left. Here you’ll receive a warm welcome and refreshment.
Beyond is The Old Vic, formerly the Victoria Hotel. It’s the birthplace of brothers Charles and Tom Laughton. Charles (born 1899) achieved fame as an actor and film star. Tom (born 1903) followed his parents into the hotel trade, eg Pavilion and Royal. He presented 39 paintings to the Borough.
Next is the Stephen Joseph Theatre (previously the Odeon cinema). The black tiling is an Odeon design feature. It’s now the focus of Sir Alan Ayckbourn. This is a listed building.
Returning to the Railway Station, you’ll see, between Westborough and Valley Bridge Road junction, Pavilion House. This building replaced the Pavilion Hotel, demolished in 1973. Such a pity, as the former hotel, opened in 1870, was part of a distinctive architectural style.
Distance: 4 miles, allow 2 hours.
Refreshment: The Mere Cafe (near the mere jetty). Plenty available at Falsgrave and Westborough.
Rural Rambles Volume 15 is now available – 17 walks and maps for £2.50. Entire profits to charities. For a copy send a cheque for £2.50 payable to EM Robinson and enclose an A5 sized stamped addressed envelope (a 53p stamp will cover cost). Send to Mrs M Robinson, 14 Malvern Crescent, Scarborough YO12 5QW.