A Stroll With Stu: take this five-mile walk from North York Moors down to Robin Hood's Bay, near Whitby

Winter used to be my favourite season, followed in order by Spring, Summer and Autumn (which I suppose means that my year used to go relentlessly downhill after Christmas).

By Stuart Bell
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 3:07 pm

But that was in the days of snowball fights, nose-breaking walls of frozen washing on the clothes line, long icy slides polished to perfection down the middle of Sandringham Road and sledging on an old fertiliser bag down the hill in Thornaby’s Pleasure Gardens – then laughing at Billy Gibson wallowing in the stagnant beck at the bottom.

The replacement of snow with gales and sleet, means that Spring is now No.1 in the charts, displayed at full throttle in this late stage of the season, on this five-miler from the moors down to Robin Hoods Bay, through gorgeous woodland, open fields and golden sands.

The Arriva X93 will drop you off opposite the Flask Inn after shedding several rivets on its hike up from Baytown.

Red roofs at Robin Hood's Bay.

Head seawards down a track signposted for Meadow Beck Shepherd’s Huts, soon swinging right at Low Flask Farm onto a wood-chipped footpath.

Take a left after a gate into a grassy field, edging right to cross a stile onto a downhill path leading towards some newly planted woodland.

The Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust – partially funded by legacy gifts in the wills of people who walked these paths decades ago – have expanded the existing oak and ash woods nearer the becks which were ‘harvested’ in the Second World War.

An impressive buffer zone of maple, cherry, holly and blackthorn has attracted butterflies and birdlife for you to enjoy as you continue downhill with the sun on your back.

Stoupe Brow.

The wood ages and thickens as you drop more steeply down to the confluence of two moorland becks, which you can easily cross to a clear path opposite, climbing up to turn left on a stony track.

A notice on your left says Harry’s Folly which also appears on the OS map.

Now, I’ve always understood a folly to be a term for a building constructed for decoration but suggesting some more elaborate purpose (such as demonstrating to the locals that the owner has loads of money to fritter away on meaningless buildings).

I spent some time searching the woods for such an ivy clad edifice so that you don’t have to, and found only the woods and the ivy.

Wood anemones.

Turns out that Harry’s Folly is the name of the woodland itself – though presumably there was once someone called Harry who deserved to have a small wood named after him.

The track emerges on to a quiet lane at Colcroft Farm, where you should turn right, admiring the spectacular views to Stoupe Brow away to your right.

A buzzard was patrolling the skies high above me, soaring around in a commanding manner and eyeballing me before gliding away to look for a lighter snack.

Pass a stone cottage after half a mile, then ignore a footpath sign to soon reach a bridge over the Cinder Track.

Ahead of the bridge, drop down a cut to the railway track bed, turning left to fairly quickly cross a road and up steps to re-join the track.

Immediately you can see the platforms of Fyling Hall station being reclaimed by nature, but always betrayed 50 yards further on by the ‘Station Masters House’ on your left.

As you can see by the surrounding fields, Fyling Hall served next to nobody and was one of the few stations on the Scarborough to Whitby line where some of the trains rattled straight through with a cheery toot on the whistle.

Ten minutes along the track, climb steps on your left to cross over a bridge, then after a gate a path takes you steadily downhill to a footbridge over Mill Beck, gurgling its way down to Boggle Hall.

As you know, every down has an up and this is a muscle-toning long drag, curling right through a grassy field to reach a tiny lane where you can have a breather and admire the super views back towards the moors in the far distance.

Turn left, then soon right down Mark Lane.

This leads to Farsyde House Equestrian Centre, around which – to its left – is a marked path ultimately leading you to the cliff top Cleveland Way.

Now, switch your phone on and have a look at the tide times.

If you are 90 minutes before or after high tide, turn right through the gate to ultimately drop down to the beach at Boggle Hall (coffee stop opportunity) and return to Robin Hood’s Bay along the beach.

It’s a beautiful end to a cracking walk. Alternatively, turn left at the gate to quickly reach the fleshpots of Baytown after a series of steps and enjoy an early glass of something refreshing in the scrumptious beer garden of the Victoria Hotel.