Contrasting scenes

Rainbow-coloured chalets along Scarborough's North Bay promenade looking towards the Sands.
Rainbow-coloured chalets along Scarborough's North Bay promenade looking towards the Sands.

Scarborough is most fortunate in having two bays, divided by the castle headland, and providing for all ages and interests. This week we visit North Bay, best known for Peasholm Park and the Open Air Theatre. However, this walk starts and finishes at the Sands piazza, with its apartments, cafes, bars and boutiques. Then, beyond the Sea Life Centre is the rugged beauty of the cliff top walks. It’s a must!

Start from the Sands near Peasholm Gap, where there’s plenty of cafes and bars for refreshment before your walk. Simply head north along the fine promenade, with rainbow-coloured chalets, happy holiday-makers and surfers. If it’s approaching high tide – take care of powerful waves.

Just beyond the chalets is Promenade Cafe, with reasonably-priced beverages and the choice of eating here, or taking away. Pass Seaside Crazy Golf to your left, with the miniature railway running behind. Follow flagpoles and line of lights to the white ‘pyramids’ ahead, but observe North Bay Railway Station, just in case you decide on a later ride.

Walk around the perimeter of the ‘pyramids’, which house the Sea Life Sanctuary – a great venue for all the family. Meet sharks, life in rock pools, penguins, seals and otters, along with a turtle sanctuary. Save it for a wet day, or special occasion. Skirting the car park keep by the sea wall and you reach Old Scalby Mills, near the footbridge over Scalby Beck. A lovely place to take a rest or refreshment indoors or out. Then – cross the bridge for a complete contrast of scenes.

Ascending steps to Scalby Ness, beware dangerous cliffs. Reaching the cliff top, follow the obvious, well-used path heading north-north west, just away from the cliff edge, and then keep straight ahead, noting the crumbling cliffs, and remaining on the path. Wild flowers strew your way in season. [Ignore the well-used path off left, as this is your return route.]

Shortly, you reach a three-finger post indicating the Cleveland Way north and south. Here, turn off left to walk inland, as signed to Helmsley 48 miles.

The narrow path leads between herb-rich grassland to enhance the area’s wildlife. Becoming a track, it heads directly to Burniston Road, and provides fine views to Scarborough Castle on the headland.

Your public footpath provides access to the road by a handgate, into a small car park. Turn left on the verge footpath along Burniston Road. To your right is a caravan site, and beyond features Scalby Manor Hotel – a grand place to dine. Just a few yards ahead, seek a small car park.

Here, leave the road in favour of a delightful footpath. Take the hedged track off left, go via a gate, and by a meadow, known locally as the Donkey Field. Beyond, the way opens up as you progress to the cliff edge and join the Cleveland Way. This time turn right to retrace a short section of your outward route, descending steps to cross the footbridge once more.

Now turn right up the hill to walk in front of Old Scalby Mills pub. Continue round the bend into Scalby Mills Road, using the left verge pathway, with grass and seating between yourself and the road. Lovely views extend over your route by the Sea Life Sanctuary.

Meeting the road, seek immediately a broad footpath off left, with roses at the start, and seats provided on the lawned surrounds. Descend this path as it passes beneath bushes. You’ll see North Cliff Golf Club off right before seven steps lead straight forward beside left rustic fencing. Where fencing ends, go left to cross the miniature railway line, and turn right. At the forking of ways, bear left to rejoin the sea wall.

Follow the sea wall to your left, and have fun on the beach, or watch the water sports, as you return by the Promenade Cafe, and those brilliant holiday chalets, to The Sands. Have you time for further exploration? There’s Northstead Manor Park, with its Open Air Theatre and Miniature Railway Station close by, and of course the great attraction of Peasholm Park. More than plenty to fill a most memorable day.

Access: Service bus 3 or 3A Scarborough and District buses. Depart every quarter hour from York Place, Scarborough. Dismount at The Stands.

Distance: Four miles, terrain is mostly easy, but steps in places.

Refreshment: Plenty of hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars along the route.