Use it or lose it! This once-delightful walk on the immediate outskirts of Scarborough is in danger of being lost, as it becomes increasingly overgrown in certain areas. The cost of maintaining public footpaths and bridleways has increased, making it essential for voluntary working groups to assist.*
Within three miles of walking the scene changes from a residential area to meadows and farmland, woodland with steps to ‘heaven’, cafe and farm shop, and Harland Mount Nature Reserve!
Start from the junction of Stepney Drive, Falsgrave Road, Stepney Road, and Sandybed Lane. Walk up Sandybed Lane to its farthest end to meet a crossroad. Here, turn right along Lightfoots Road, with far-reaching views to the left across countryside. At the end, to the left verge you’ll admire Spring Valley Holiday Park. Just beyond is a forking of ways. Here, fork left to continue up a rough track with private allotments to your right.
Keep to the track until it swings away to the left. Stop. On this bend, find to the right two gateways, and enter the left one, signed as a public footpath. [You’ll return by the other in due course.]
Cross the small field ahead, as indicated towards the wood. Enter the woodland and mount the 100 steps to ‘heaven’, known as Jacob’s Ladder. Reaching the summit, your peaceful path between a field and the perimeter of Jacob’s Mount Camping Site is a joy. Blackberries are a bonus in season.
Your path skirts the camping site on the right, screened by trees and metal rails. Nearing the A170 a small wood features to your left. Access the main road, and cross with great care at the crossing place just to the right.
Follow the left verge down Stepney Road to Stepney Hill Farm. What finer place for refreshment, with about half the walk completed?
The visitor centre’s entrance is well-signed from the road, and is proud to display its farm shop, butchers and bakers too! The cafe provides all day breakfast, afternoon teas, Baytown Coffee and Yorkshire Tea. Also noteworthy are its stunning views over the valley!
Leaving this refreshment stop, turn left to resume your descent along Stepney Road for about 100 paces only. You’ll see a warning sign for motorists – stop here. Cross the road with care to take up the bridleway to the left of a large bungalow. The fine, grassed approach is encouraging as it leads to a rising, rutted track. To the left is a field and fine view to Scarborough Castle and the North Sea.
The track becomes hedged either side as your ascent leads to a farm gate. Don’t enter. Bear right to keep ascending up a narrower path overgrown with bracken and brambles, to meet a sign: ‘Welcome to Harland Mount Nature Reserve’.
Shortly, post and barbed-wire fencing is to your left, with a view over nearby allotments and Box Hill, etc. Descend the narrow footpath, keeping any dogs leashed to avoid the barbed wire which could cause severe damage to medium-large dogs! Secateurs are handy for snipping away overgrown branches and brambles. Strong, waterproof footwear recommended after rainfall! Don’t despair, just be prepared for any minor inconveniences. The route itself is easy to follow and just requires management.
Leaving the ‘reserve’ by a gate, please read the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s sign: “This is one of 95 plus nature reserves we look after in North Yorkshire.” Please send any donations (or comments) to: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, 1 St George’s Place, York Y024 1GN.
Continue your descent to leave by a gate opening onto a grassed verge and track. Turn left along your outward-going track to pass allotments off left, and then Spring Valley Holiday Park to your right. Follow Lightfoots Road and turn first left to return down Sandybed Lane to the traffic island and starting point.
• Walkers and horse-riders will be delighted to learn the route is now clear! Sincere thanks to Alan Tomlinson and his team of conservation volunteers, a tremendous amount of work has been accomplished. Do go and enjoy the ‘circular’.
Distance: 3 miles; terrain – uneven ground with hills and 100 steps.
Refreshment: Stepney Hill Farm Cafe.
Public Transport: Evelyn Drive bus stop to top of Sandybed Lane (number 2 bus service).
Note: Please read the route details beforehand regarding cautions!