Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and the purple haze of heather moorland – perfect for a remarkable walk not to be missed! It begins at Hawsker, just south of Whitby, and about 17 miles north of Scarborough.
Take the A171 Whitby road, turning off as signed to High Hawsker, just a quarter of a mile out of Hawsker itself. Swing left to discover the Hare and Hounds Inn, from where this six mile walk departs. You’ll find it splendid throughout, and the route easy to follow.
Start. Leaving the Hare and Hounds, veer slightly left as you cross the road towards a bus shelter and post box. You’ll see your bridleway from the prominent sign, ‘Swan Farm’, with The Caravan Club indicated too.
A metalled drive warns: ‘Free Range Children Playing!’. Passing farm buildings to the left, you swiftly access a bridge spanning the disused rail-track. Open fields are traversed with cattle grids and your sole companions – sheep! Ahead, you’ll see the farm at Gnipe Howe. Beyond an open gateway and grid lies the farm. Turn left along the waymarked bridleway.
Walking in front of the farmhouse, continue along a rough track in line with electricity posts. Look out for a forking of ways and go right with a wall to your left. Widdy Field is on the hill towards the horizon. Pass an access track to Widdy Field and continue to Whitby Laithes Farm.
At the end of farm buildings, leave by a gateway and turn right to pass in front of a house with a bridged approach across a moat! Ascend the rough track to the brow of Beacon Hill. At a bridleway sign on the right, enter a gate and take the cattle path along the edge of a field. Fine views extend to Whitby.
At the end of the field, make your exit to cross a small paddock. A gate then provides access into a lane at Ling Hill. Meeting the lane on a bend, turn right, and this narrow road quickly begins its descent towards the coast.
The Whitby foghorn creates quite an impact with its gleaming white walls. Known locally as T’awd Bull, one can well imagine that its horn is deafening!
Next, approaching the white lighthouse, turn right and mount steps alongside the outer perimeter wall. Follow a narrow footpath edged with gorse onto the open, bracing Cleveland Way.
The path is straight forward to a screening of willows. Please ensure children and dogs are under close control. There’s a most dramatic sheer descent to the rocky beach!
Shortly, a stream is crossed, before you stride out once again along the cliff top’s Cleveland Way. Gnipe Howe is seen to the horizon. [Should you wish to shorten your route, just follow the ‘Hawsker’ sign to the right, back to Gnipe Howe, and return along your outward route.]
Our route along the Cleveland Way soon descends steps. Here, in Oakham Wood, you cross Oakham Beck by a footbridge. Just beyond, negotiate a slightly terraced field, and a further field with sections of dry stone walling. Before you is Maw Wyke Hole.
Beyond, descend a ravine, thickly vegetated to the right. Drop down to cross the beck and take up the fooptath. Magnificent views are to the north.
At the next sign on the cliff-top, turn right as directed to Hawsker. Follow the edge of the field towards caravans, then cross a field to the main track. Heading inland, take the main drive through the caravan site. This well-maintained site is attractively laid out.
Follow the ‘Way Out’ sign and veer right to pass a cafe to your left, ‘Coast Cafe Bar - All Welcome’. The reception area is seen to the right. Then, from Northcliffe Holiday Park, turn left as arrowed to Hawsker and continue round the bend in the access lane.
Cross the ford at Oakham Beck, and rise steeply between trees. Your route levels between leafy hedgerows with brambles in season.
Reaching the dis-used railway track, turn right to pass through an area of arable land and livestock. Electricity posts stride across the countryside ahead. Pass beneath the overheard cables, and as you approach the railway bridge, turn right up the steps and turn left over the bridge. You’re back on your outward-going track which returns you to the road, and the Hare and Hounds.
If you’ve timed it well, you’ll be ready for a bar meal or one of the pub’s specialities!
Distance of route: Six miles approximately. Allow three hours average walking pace.
Refreshment: The Hare and Hounds, Main Street, High Hawsker; also Coast Cafe Bar, Northcliffe Holiday Park.