Superb scenic drive takes in fine views

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by Maureen Robinson

An attractive little advert regarding “stitchers’ work on display” inspired our day out and scenic drive! The Scarborough Stitchers held their fifth exhibition at the Ingrid Flute Gallery in St Hilda’s Church, Ravenscar, last August. It was splendid, and an inspiration to all!

This church frequently holds art and craft exhibitions, so do bear it in mind when driving, cycling, or even walking this superb route.

From Scarborough to Ravenscar is just 10 miles, and the entire circular, encompassing some of North Yorkshire’s finest scenery, is just 26 miles.

Take the A171 Scalby Road via Newby, Scalby and Burniston, to Cloughton village, with no shortage of inns and cafes en route. The Rosette Inn, Mad Hatter’s Cafe, Daisy Cafe, Three Jolly Sailors and the Coast Gallery and Tea Rooms, a few that come to mind. Deviate right down Station Lane to discover Cloughton Station’s highly popular tea rooms, in garden surroundings.

At the northern end of Cloughton, leave the A171 Whitby road, and bear right up Newlands Road towards Staintondale. Cober Hill, a conference event hotel, is to your immediate right. A warm welcome is extended to anyone wishing to take a group there.

Good blackberry lanes extend beyond Hood Lane, and views unfold as you ascend to Bryherstones Inn off left. Then Hayburn Wyke’s driveway leaves the A171, sweeping towards the sea, and the renowned Hayburn Wyke Hotel in idyllic setting for outdoor or indoor refreshment, a recreation area for the children, and walks in the surrounding countryside down to the Wyke and cascading waterfall.

It’s on your way then, rounding bends and crossing a road-bridge to enter Staintondale and the signed Shire Horse Farm.

Windy Ridge is aptly named as you ascend, before passing a lane off left to Staintondale’s Shop and Post Office, and reaching the village hall, and hill-top church.

Grange Farm is viewed off right, as you continue straight ahead by a windswept row of tall conifers near Wellfield Farm.

Reaching the brow of the hill with its old windmill, a fine landmark, turn right as signed to Ravenscar, half a mile. Great views seawards! Entering Ravenscar, at the corner of Church Road (the first turning right), halt to view St Hilda’s Church. If open, do read about the Ingrid Flute Gallery, and maybe admire an exhibition there.

Continue down to Raven Hall Hotel with superlative views towards Robin Hood’s Bay – a much photographed and painted scene! The National Trust Visitor Centre off left is most interesting and very informative regarding the alum industry once here, local geography, geology, history and walks etc. Take your golf clubs and partake in a round of golf on the wind-swept course.

Facing next, the Raven Hall Hotel, this is the end point of the Lyke Wake Walk. The Cleveland Way passes the entrance too, then turning right (south-east) along Station Road.

Look at the pair of ravens on the gate posts. Despite a Roman signal station having been sited here, it’s believed the name is Norse. The raven was Odin’s secret bird and the Danish sagas tell of the raising of a raven standard on a scar – a headland of the coast.

Mad King George III was treated at Raven Hall Hotel to escape the public eye. Smugglers too sought the shelter and peace offered by Ravenscar’s cliffs. Tunnels remain hidden to this day. Turn right to explore the ghost town of Ravenscar – the village that never was.

The relics of a community that never existed are preserved in the railway station, road network, and empty plots of land.

You’ll see HM Coastguard to your left, prior to discovering the well-preserved railway station near the Ravenscar Tea Rooms – just the spot for refreshment, or a Trillo’s ice cream. Feeling refreshed? Why not stroll along the cliff top to blow away any cobwebs?

It’s time to return, so retrace your route to pass that row of tall wind-swept conifers, now to your left. Quite a view which extends to Flamborough Head!

Turn right as signed towards Whitby, with heather ablaze in August. Pass Brown Rigg Road off left and meet a road junction near The Falcon Inn. Turn right and drop down to a sign which indicates a turning left to Harwood Dale, 3 miles.

Sheep and heather moorland feature along this dream of a drive to Castlebeck Farm, with Scar and Castlebeck Woods nestled in the valley. Beyond is Chapel Farm, with its waymarked sign to Lilla Cross over the moors. Then, continuing down to Mill Inn on your right, you reach a road junction. Turn left to Harwood Dale and Burniston, admiring ponds and ‘Highland’ cattle off right.

Climb out of the valley, passing Hardwick Farm, and St Margaret’s Church as you enter Harwood Dale. Rounding the bends descend to a converted chapel before rising to The Grainary, Keasbeck Hill Farm. Well known for good food, glorious views, farm animals, plants for sale, and local walks, it’s a great stopping place for all the family! Opening times are 11am-5pm daily for the farm shop.

Leaving the farm, proceed between stone walling to pass Grange Farm. Seek Scarborough Castle to the far horizon, and Flamborough Head beyond. Passing Ellis Close Farm, and then Gowland Lane off left, keep straight ahead. Take care descending sharp bends beneath a shady tunnel of trees, by Lindhead Gorse.

Reaching a road junction fork left uphill to Burniston. Just beyond a ‘Bends’ sign, view Burniston’s restored lime kiln on the corner and read the plaque. Stone Quarry Road leads into Limestone Road which enters the A171 once more. Turning right returns you to Scarborough along your outward-going route.

Distance: The entire ‘circular’ route = 26 miles.

Refreshment: An abundance of inns, cafes and restaurants along the way.