Your Day Out: The town that has it all

The excellent information panel at Filey Dams wildlife reserve.
The excellent information panel at Filey Dams wildlife reserve.

Filey has it all! For variety you have wooded ravines, glorious gardens, superb sculptures, a beautiful bay with sandy shores, a magnificent museum, 17th century cottages, and Filey Dams Nature Reserve, all within a short walk not to be missed. Even in the depths of winter, there’s something for everyone.

Entering Filey, head for the bus and railway stations, as your walk starts from the nearby roundabout.

Start from the car park or as convenient, and from the roundabout walk along Station Road to explore a little of the old town first.

At its junction with Queen Street, continue directly ahead into Church Street. Of special interest are numbers 13, and 17 to 47 along about 100 metres of Church Hill.

This charming section reveals several styles of architecture. One abode is of dressed stone, along with three-storey town houses of the 18th century, followed by a group of attractive cottages named, The Cobblestones.

Just before the footbridge is reached, seek a footpath off right. It’s between metal rails and walling, named Sandhill Lane. Look left into the Church Ravine far below, as you walk just a short way, before taking the first exit right up a few steps, and into Queen Street. Entering Queen Street, directly opposite is Filey’s fabulous little museum. This is the oldest surviving dwelling in the town. It opened in 1970, formed from a couple of old cottages (numbers 8 to 10) that date from 1696. One of them was a dairy and had cows in the backyard. The museum, and its lovely rear garden attract thousands of visitors. Sadly it closes at the end of October.

Turn left to proceed along Queen Street to its seaward end. Pass The Grapes, and Foord’s Hotel beyond. The latter is late Georgian, and has Grecian Doric columns at the door. Next is an ancient house, once T’awd Ship Inn, said to have been the haunt of smugglers – complete with secret cupboards. Part of this area was for many years home to the fishing community. Sadly, this has been demolished and replaced with more modern accommodation.

At the farthest end of Queen Street is a breath-taking view over Filey Bay and beyond. Just to your left is a seating area known locally as the Fishermen’s Lookout. A grand spot to sit in the morning sun and gaze seawards. Steps to the right lead down to the Coble Landing.

From Fishermen’s Lookout, descend the steeply-sloping public garden below, purchased by the council in 1987. The Yorkshire stone terraces were created in the 1920s by a talented brick-layer who tragically lost an arm when only 16! It’s a restful haven with wonderful views.

Emerge at the foot of Sandhill Lane near Church Ravine and Coble Landing, with its lifeboat station, refreshments and toilets.

Turn right along Filey’s promenade, The Beach, with areas of grass and amusements, as The Beach sweeps south-east in front of holiday apartments, homes and hotels towards Crescent Hill. Look out for the iconic figure of an angler sculpture created in 2012 by Ray Lonsdale. It symbolises the demise of the fishing industry in Filey. The metal is cor-ten steel (as the Angel of the North) and withstands weathering when matured. I was pleased to donate it to Filey’s residents for all to appreciate, in 2013.

Don’t miss the glorious walled garden at the foot of Cargate Hill. Northcliffe Garden originally belonged to Northcliffe House, above.

Explore the Crescent Gardens behind the beach. They cover almost four acres and are Filey’s floral jewel in the crown in summertime.

Reaching the sharp hair-pin bend, leave the beach at its union with Crescent Hill and go straight across to find ascending paths to the Glen Gardens. Ignore them on this route, and continue along Royal Parade beyond a paddling pool, up Martin’s Ravine, as signed to West Avenue Car Park. This attractive, wooded ravine with its bubbling stream spanned by several bridges, is at its best in March, graced by golden daffodils.

At the top of Martin’s Ravine is a car park. Here, turn right alongside Glen Gardens. Observe four sculptures created in oak by Stephen Iredale. They represent the woodland walk to the seafront, but are best viewed from other angles.

Continue ahead along West Avenue, but only as far as Regency House, number 86. Here, turn off left along a rough track. This public footpath leads to the railway line. Cross with great care. Here, the scene changes from that of our last visit in 1997!

The green fields have been replaced by Mill Meadows Housing Development. Meeting Brigg Road turn right, passing Bay Crescent off right, and Coxswain Close beyond, off left. At the far end of Brigg Road, go right by Filey’s ambulance station, Sure Start Children’s Centre and Filey’s Nursery and Infant School, at the end of Padbury Avenue. Bear left to enter Grange Avenue. Go left along Grange Avenue to meet the A1039 Muston Road.

Cross with care, and turning briefly right, go first left into Wharfedale. Turn left along Wharfedale and at the far end is The Dams car park. A great highlight!

The beautifully-maintained hides provide excellent views across the reserve’s habitat. An excellent information panel by the entrance details wildlife to be found there. Visit the main hide (left), and also the east hide (right) with reed beds and seating too en route.

Watch patiently and quietly for rewarding sights. During our brief visit we observed many mallard, moorhens, geese, teal, heron and green sandpiper etc.

Leaving The Dams car park, turn left along Silverwood Avenue, and meeting Cawthorn Crescent turn right to Muston Road. Turn left along Muston Road and over the level crossing, return along Station Avenue to the roundabout and your departure point.

Distance: Approximately 3.5 to 4 miles.

Refreshment: Plenty along the coast and in Filey itself.

Transport: The X20 and 120 Scarborough to Bridlington bus service.

NB Filey Museum is open Easter to end of October, Sunday to Friday 11am-5pm, Saturday 2pm-5pm.