A Stroll With Stu: so much eye candy on walk from East Barnby, through Sandsend to Whitby
This super 7.5-mile walk, starting at East Barnby and ending up beachcombing from Sandsend to Whitby, can be reduced to five miles at Sandsend if the tide or a black cloud intervenes.
Or indeed if anything anatomical starts creaking and demanding some WD40.
I left the X4 bus at East Barnby lane end on the A174 and headed downhill to the little village.
Just before the road begins to drop more steeply, take a signposted grassy path on your left through two metal gates then across a field to a further gate in the trees ahead.
Follow a path alongside a young plantation on your left as you admire the fabulous views right towards Mulgrave Woods and beyond.
Now, this is one beautiful little footpath.
The mixed woodland is light and airy allowing for lots of wildflowers, a splash of airborne colour from Orange Tip butterflies, 50 shades of green, a symphony of birdsong, that cracking view and even the toot of a distant steam train.
Idyllic, or what?
After a mile of scrumptiousness (during which you may consider that wildflowers are always prettier than anything you plant in your garden), enter woodland on both sides then emerge through two gates to a path skirting left around the sports pitches at Lythe.
Work your way around to the road past the pavilion (on your right) and into the village.
I recommend the excellent Lythe Community shop for sustaining snacks, then cross the road to satisfy all your gin-related needs at the attractive and unexpected Lickerish Tooth distillery shop, just past the Stiddy pub.
Carry on past the Fire Station and take a path on your left.
The route is indicated by yellow topped sticks, bearing left initially, but then darting across the field to a gate in the distance.
Follow a little avenue of Hawthorn bushes – the May blossom is so late this year that it almost had to be renamed – to a wider track that descends into Overdale Woods and up the other side to a field full of cattle.
They were about as pleased to see me as I was them and an uneasy truce prevailed as I clung to the field boundary on the left.
The path runs through the centre of Overdale Farm and I had little choice but to venture closer to the herd that were congregating next to the gate I needed to access a small paddock.
Now, inside that paddock were six calves and I felt sure that my presence would elicit something more threatening than a steamy moo, but maybe I looked like the local vet as all the adults kindly scarpered as I got closer, and I successfully skipped through to the other side without any drama.
Look out for porky pig on your left, and as the track bears sharp left, turn right for half a mile then left and right at two successive signposts to access the Cleveland Way.
Those country vistas are suddenly replaced by majestic cliff scenery which will stay with you for much of the way to Sandsend.
After half a mile, a Himalayan drop down steps and a rough stone path take you past the entrance to Sandsend tunnel on the old Whitby to Saltburn railway line.
It closed in the 1950s just after I was born, but there is talk of reopening it to walkers and cyclists once they’ve removed several tons of rubble from the bits where it has collapsed in a stony heap.
The path now follows the trackbed of the old line all the way to Sandsend, passing the disused alum works and quarries that were a big enterprise back in the 19th Century – alum was extracted from the shale beds in the area to be used in the textile dyeing industry.
Presumably something in the manufacturing process prevents anything growing on these permanently barren tips.
They could have filmed the Apollo moon landings here and saved a small fortune.
Just ahead of the old Sandsend Station is a newly converted railway coach – the ‘Sandsend Sleeper’.
These used to be dotted along the coast at stations on the line south to Scarborough, but times have changed just a tad.
This new coach has toilets for a start, (in the 1960s we used the station), there is a dishwasher (we had a sink, filled using an enamel jug from a tap on the station wall) and there is free Wi-Fi (we got postcards from the village shop and wrote them under the light of a Calor Gas lamp!)
Drop down steps to the car park and decide if you wish to finish with a beach walk to Whitby, giving you the third hugely contrasting type of eye-candy in one small walk.
Can’t fault you if you do!