by Maureen Robinson
Whitby is often referred to as the jewel in the east coast crown. Its beautiful, golden stretch of sands run all the way to Sandsend. Popular it may be for bathers, and surfers too, but we love to drive along the cliff-top road from Whitby to Sandsend, with its remarkable coastal views opening up before us.
I wax lyrical over Sandsend, with Mulgrave Woods quite a favourite of ours. This drive, however, includes Sandsend along with a couple of endearing villages off the beaten track. Visit Dunsley and New-holm to escape the crowds and discover rural solitude.
We travelled from Scarborough along the A171 Scalby Road through Burniston and Cloughton. You must call at the Coast Gallery and tea rooms to marvel at the arts and crafts on display. Then, forking left from Cloughton’s High Street, just keep to the A171 to pass the Falcon Inn, and beyond the Flask Inn and Pond Farm prepare to turn off left along the B1416 to Ruswarp. As you descend towards Sneaton, look to the horizon for your first view of Whitby Abbey.
Seek Sneaton’s Beacon Farm ice cream parlour and tea rooms off to your right if it’s a hot day. Traditional dairy ice cream is made on the farm in a variety of flavours. It’s ideal for a family outing, with free use of an outdoor play area and indoor bouncy castle available for children.
Next, it’s a 16 per cent gradient before entering Ruswarp, with its cattle market featuring prior to crossing the bridge spanning the River Esk. The Bridge Inn, village church elevated to the left, and Jackson’s butchers are glimpsed as you climb out of the valley and meet a roundabout. Take the A174 towards Sandsend and Saltburn, and beyond bends you’ll see a sign to Raithwaite Hall Hotel, 200 yards ahead, off left. Continue into Sandsend and just past the Hart Inn, cross the road bridge and turn left into a car park if you decide to spend time here. It’s £4 to park, unless you find free roadside parking.
Mulgrave Woods and the impressive ruins of the former Mulgrave Castle can be entered from the far end of the car park.
Open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, excluding May, there are beautiful walks, especially during rhododendron time.
Along the seafront you’ll find shops, an art gallery, pubs and restaurant, but our choice would be The Valley alongside the beck. Don’t miss a walk past the cute country cottages; see the pet goats, and feed the ducks beside the beck. St Mary’s quaint church should be viewed, as we usually find it open.
Having spent time in Sandsend, leave the car park and return to re-cross the bridge, pass the Hart Inn, and to your left Sandside Cafe.
Seek the first turning right as you leave Sandsend, and follow a sign to Dunsley. You’ll observe a Dunsley Hall notice board immediately to the left.
Ascending the banked lane, observe a water tower to your right. Sandsend Bay Cottages and Raven Hill Farm feature to the left. The single-track lane, hemmed between high banks of wild flowers, winds pleasantly by attractive stone-built properties. Entering Dunsley, Field House is noted and a 30mph zone is reached.
Turn left to Newholm 1.5 miles, passing the handsome Dunsley Hall Country House Hotel, to descend by Dunsley Lodge displaying attractive stone troughs and lush grassed verges. Admire the view, before making a steep drop into the valley. A stream accompanies the lane to a ford. Ascending, beneath a leafy canopy to Warnbeck Farm Cottages, low hedging permits views to the sea. Continue between agricultural land to meet a road junction. Turning left towards Sandsend, enter New-holm and maybe call at Penny Clare with its crafts and tea room. Stone-built, red-roofed properties are admired, before the gleaming white inn catches your eye! Ye Olde Beehive Inne, with outdoor tables and chairs, welcomes you. Two huge planters of yellow marguerites are most attractive.
Pass a pond close by and sheep pasture to the left as you reach a road junction. Turning left on a hedged lane, note Graystone Farm and Swallow Nest B&B.
Your very narrow lane is hemmed between high hedging. At the next road junction, don’t turn left to Sandsend, but turn right towards Whitby. The golf course is beside the sea, as you drive towards Whitby’s west cliff.
Turn right at the roundabout, and take the A171 to return to Scarborough. You’ll observe Pannett Park, and the amazing floral clock to your left. Yes, it’s time to return home after an eventful day!
Driving distance: 45 miles approximately, entire route.
Refreshment: A good choice in Whitby, and several options in Sandsend. Other venues as mentioned in the villages.
Acknowledgements to Michael – the man behind the driving wheel.