One of the most popular stretches of coastline along the Cleveland Way must surely lie between Boggle Hole and Robin Hood’s Bay. Despite considerable coastal erosion over the years, one can now enjoy this delightful route which has been successfully restored, thanks to management of the area.
Robin Hood’s Bay is a picturesque old fishing village, which lies between Scarborough and Whitby. It’s accessible from the A171, turning towards the coast as indicated Fylingthorpe 1.5 miles and Robin Hood’s Bay 2 miles.
During the holiday season, parking can be a problem, but I suggest you park on the verge near St Stephen’s Church in Fylingthorpe. This is on the outskirts of Robin Hood’s Bay. Leaving the church go right along Thorpe Lane, and before the bend is reached, turn left as signed to the Cinder Track. Enter a handgate, and remain on the broad, firm track of the dis-used railway, which has grassed verges and a seat provided. Shortly you meet the cinder track, and beyond a shaded section, pass a camp site and silo to your right.
Take the handgate to cross a farm track and negotiate the gate beyond. The cinder track narrows, and passes luxury holiday caravans for hire. Meeting Middlewood Lane, turn left and pass Mark Lane. Keep directly ahead and descend quite steeply, using an ancient monks’ trod on the left verge. This has been cleared to reveal sections of the old stone pathway. Seek off left a footpath sign leading you off the lane. Don’t miss it! It’s just beyond, ‘Try your brakes’! Follow this short footpath over a stone stile, and a wooden footbridge spanning the beck. Beyond Mill Beck you reach a lane and go left, winding steeply up to Mill Beck Farm. Walk between farms, and at the road junction is a car park. Here turn left as signed to the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) or the beach.
The pretty lane, hedged with hazel and blackthorn bushes, heads directly to the beach at Boggle Hole. However, unless you wish to rest on the beach, seek an exit off left along a fenced footpath, to reach a wooden footbridge over Mill Beck near the youth hostel.
Mill Beck splashes onto the beach from a narrow valley. The old mill, which became Boggle Hole Youth Hostel, is situated about 100 metres upstream. The building was designed without stairs. Small ships used to discharge grain on the beach for grinding here. The mill was water-operated until 1928, and used to be hauntingly beautiful.
Crossing the bridge to the hostel, watch out for boggles and hob-goblins! Treat them kindly and these Yorkshire sprites may help you on your way. The hostel has changed considerably since I stayed there in 1957! It now has a cafe selling tea, coffee, cakes, ice cream, and cold drinks. The menu also features wine, lager, cider and ale etc. A toilet is available.
Leaving the hostel, bear left to ascend many, many steps through woodland and between hedging, as the Cleveland Way winds to the cliff-top with stunning views! [NB If you’ve problems tackling Whitby’s steps to the abbey, don’t attempt this section.] From a seat, appreciate breath-taking vistas at low tide, over the ribbed scars to Robin Hood’s Bay about a mile north.
Shortly, a handsome gate announces, Farsyde Stud. Please read the notice and keep to the wonderful broad, level path between hedging and strong fencing. At the far end, enter a gate and go right as arrowed along flagstones following the cliff edge. Descend wooden steps through woodland and at the end bear left inland along a fenced and hedged footpath. Descend stone steps named Flagstaff Steps to Flagstaff Cottage. Halt! Read the wall plaque regarding the original inscription on the stone by the white gatepost. Then bear right down Albion Street, passing Mariondale Fish and Chips. Treat yourself!
At the foot of Albion Street, bear right to the dock and the old coastguard station, which is now a wonderful visitor centre, open daily from 10am-4pm in summertime, during school holidays. From October, visit weekends only. Please contact (01947) 885900 for more details.
Exciting displays show the forces that have shaped the bay; creating tides, creatures to be discovered in rock pools, geology and fossils, along with seabirds in flight on the ceiling, and smugglers!
From the interesting visitor centre, explore more for yourself on the beaches, and delving into rock-pools, providing it’s low tide! There’s no harbour, and boats are launched from the dock, or the beach, depending on the tide. Delve into the history of some quaint old buildings or take a unique tour through streets and alleyways on a ghost walk! So much to do!
Eventually, follow the main street away from the slipway, and beyond King’s Beck to your right is the Old Bakery and Tea Rooms.
The streets in Bay Town are merely alleys or ginnels, with brightly-painted cottages and colourful tubs of plants. Try to imagine the smuggling scene of bygone days, as you walk past the Laurel Inn on the corner, and take the steep, stepped ascent to seating at the top near a car park.
Continue past the Victoria Hotel, and observe the ‘monument’, before taking the first turning left from the White Owl, along Thorpe Lane. Passing the Methodist Church, you quickly return to St Stephen’s Church and your departure point.
Distance: Four miles approximately. Allow two hours for walking route only.
Terrain: Very good walking surfaces, but steep inclines and many steps make for more strenuous walking.
Refreshment: Boggle Hole Youth Hostel for hot and cold drinks and cakes etc; Robin Hood’s Bay - numerous hotels, cafes and snacks available.
Toilets: Boggle Hole Hostel and the dock at Robin Hood’s Bay. Also Bank Top and station car park.
Access by private or public transport. The bus is the Whitby to Scarborough service, route 93 and X93 to Fylingthorpe starting point.