A Stroll With Stu: a five-mile rollercoaster of a walk around Dalehouse, Staithes
I long since began to run out of new paths to tread on the coast near Whitby and down the Esk Valley, so I was pleased to negotiate this five-mile rollercoaster of a walk close to the Boulby Potash mine, on tracks previously unknown to my boots.
I started at the East End of Easington, near Loftus, having been dropped off by the X4 bus near Grinkle Lane end.
By the side of the road is an elaborate drinking fountain – a memorial to one Robert Morehead, formerly Dean of Edinburgh, who became the Rector of Easington in the 19th Century.
Erected in 1873, it is a fine structure – fine enough to be Grade 2 listed – but looks sad and neglected today.
Still, so long as there is enough money to send businessmen and 90-year old millionaires into space for a jolly, who needs history?
Cross the road and take the entrance into Farm Direct Country Store, heading straight on into a grassy field.
Soon, follow the waymark left, then right again to the top left corner, over a wobbly stile with the hedge now on your right.
At the highest point turn right again with a new hedge on your left, then a final left in the next field with the field boundary on your left again.
Now, there is a long downhill stretch past a quirky bench made from wooden pallets, heading towards the woods.
A new stile takes you to some steps into the trees and very quickly – and a tad surprisingly – you cross the railway line leading to the Potash mine.
The stiles, built by Network Rail who must have been gutted that they weren’t allowed to chop down all the trees, can soon be left behind as you follow the clear path snaking downhill to a footbridge across Easington Beck.
These are beautiful old woods, alive with fauna and flora, which will look even more stunning as autumn takes hold, but beware that they are criss-crossed by several wide tracks which (I shall say zis urnly wornce), should always be ignored in favour of thinner tracks going straight on.
Where there is a down, there is a corresponding up, this time in the form of a long staircase of steps climbing away from that footbridge.
At the top, you need to cross Ridge Lane and repeat the process down and up another wooded valley, this time crossing Roxby Beck at the bottom.
Don’t be tempted by an inviting flatter section after the footbridge – the path climbs steeply up to the left of it, just like the last one!
Near the top though, bear right on a wider track but after 100 yards or so follow the footpath sign to Roxby, on your left.
Pause to take in the gorgeous views along a meadow to the coast, but turn right to reach a farm going straight on along its access track to reach a road and turn left towards St Nicholas Church, Roxby.
Another stunning but relatively simple listed building, this church dates back hundreds of years but was largely rebuilt in 1818.
Carry on down the road until it jags sharp left.
Take the second of two signposted paths over a stile and straight on up the hill in the field in front of you, through a gap in the wall ahead (with a redundant stile), and on to a second stile where you need to deviate left to a final stile just beyond power lines.
Keep left and enjoy some of the best views I’ve seen anywhere in the area.
It really is worth all that climbing as the lofty vistas down to Staithes and Runswick are just gobsmacking, (though you may need to hold your left arm aloft to block out the concrete blot that is the Cleveland Potash Mine).
Sadly though, my trusty little camera, in an “I’m not worthy” moment, refused to cooperate, so you’ll just have to go up and see for yourself.
At the corner of the next field, drop steeply down to turn left down Borrowby Lane.
At the foot of the hill take a lift through Borrowby Grange, then right at the end of the buildings through a field sporting three electric fences, which can be safely negotiated using the pain-free plastic handle that attaches them to the fence on your right.
Go through Cooper house and, just like that, emerge onto a lane that winds its way down to Dalehouse village.
The village was positively festooned with signs for a takeaway coffee outlet, possibly linked to a planning permission row with the council and the local pub.
I may be wrong, but diplomatically I used both, falling gratefully into the outside seats of the Fox & Hounds on the road out towards Staithes, from which I didn’t move for a further two hours.