Julia West was born in Scarborough and went to Scalby School. She worked at Boots, had her own shop in Dean Road and, after raising a family, went to Scarborough College to study fashion design, which led to a three-year course learning ceramics and a 17-year stint as a potter. She was in a local murder mystery group called Interact, playing many different characters, and photography has become her latest passion. “With so much on my doorstep I couldn’t fail really.”
The North Yorkshire coast is home to so many special places.
At Hunmanby Gap, the large grassy car park on the cliff top leads down to a walk along miles of clean sandy beach, stretching from Filey Brigg to the left, sweeping along to Speeton cliff top on the right.
A lovely place to paddle and splash along the edge of small bubbling waves. So with sand between our toes and salt on our lips, it’s back up to the cafe for homemade cheesecake and a coffee. The friendly staff make it a home from home experience.
Perhaps a woodland walk is more to your taste, so take the Whitby road to May Beck. Park in the car park and walk by the riverside through beautiful old oak trees, beech and hazel. This is a four-mile circular walk, at the far end taking in Midge Hall and Falling Foss. The hall was built in the 18th century as a remote gamekeeper’s cottage. Abandoned and left to the woodland elements in the 1930s, this enchanting little hall was given a new lease of life in 2008 when the present owners moved in and opened a tea garden serving sandwiches, cakes, teas and coffee in the open air or under large canopies. The Foss is a 30ft waterfall, situated along side Midge Hall, our view point from there is looking downward as the water cascades and pools in the bottom. All the while the rushing water crashes and spills on to the rocks below. From the hall you can take the path up to the old hermitage. This cave was carved out of a huge boulder back in the 18th century and was home to a hermit who lived off the land in this secluded part of the wood.
Scarborough’s Royal Albert Drive is home to Freddie Gilroy. You won’t miss him, he is a giant steel sculpture. Freddie sits on an equally giant bench looking out to sea. This wonderful statue is the work of County Durham artist Ray Lonsdale. He represents the soldiers who were held at Bergen Belsen concentration camp during the Second World War. Gifted to the town by Maureen Robinson, he has found his resting place and has taken a special place in many people’s hearts.
Forge Valley, at East Ayton, has a lovely woodland walk alongside the River Derwent and is easy to access from the car park opposite the Old Man’s Mouth. A wooden boardwalk makes this walk family friendly too. Springtime brings with it a carpet of wild garlic. Summertime deer can be spotted, also woodpecker, jays and squirrels fill these woods. Autumn comes and under the trees so many magical toadstools and fungi. A linear walk brings us back to the car park and the Old Man’s Mouth water fountain, believed to have been the water source for a row of cottages that once housed several local families. Alas they are no more but the
water still flows from the hilltop down into the grate where it is taken under the road and blends into the
River Derwent and away.
Finally, Scampston Hall stole my heart many years ago, when I was a child. From Scampston bridge on the A64, the eye is taken down the lake and settles on beautiful Scampston Hall. This unobtrusive country house is so much more than perhaps would initially appear. Built around 1795-1800, Scampston Estate consists of 3,000 acres. Still a working farm, potatoes, sugar beet, wheat and barley are all grown on the land. Originally designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the surrounding 18th century parkland has many native trees and woodland trails. Along with the house and lake, Scampston also has a fabulous Walled Garden.
Spending the best part of a day here will be a pleasure you will want to repeat. The gentle, friendly and calm atmosphere can’t be matched. Still a home for the Legard family, Scampston Hall has a plethora of treasures inside. No barriers, no ropes – this family open their home to the public for a short season, with guided tours.