by Maureen Robinson
Filey is a real gem on Yorkshire’s coast. This Edwardian town is proud of its magnificent gardens, quaint streets, splendid views, and a five-mile stretch of beautiful coastline. It was recently voted in the top 10 beaches in the country, that’s one reason why this walk was taken, to fully appreciate its attractions.
Start from Filey’s well-known Coble Landing, at the foot of Church Ravine. Here, fishermen used to sell their catch, in a unique working environment. Visitors watched the launching and recovery of these traditional fishing craft. Sadly, extensive over-fishing in the North Sea has drastically reduced stocks. Filey’s boats now rely more on crab and lobster than on fish. [See Finlay the Angler sculpture along the beach.]
Take time to explore Coble Landing, with its HM Coastguard and RNLI, cafes, shops, ice creams, beach chalets, and glorious views to Filey Brigg. The lifeboat station was founded in 1804 and pre-dates the formation of the RNLI in 1824. Fully trained volunteers are pleased to welcome visitors, and are willing to answer questions and offer advice regarding beach, cliff and boat safety.
Heading south you’ll find fun for all the family at Ocean Drive’s Crazy Golf, with a gigantic lobster dominating the scene. Just beyond is a ‘giant’ angler, lamenting the decline of fishing, as he gazes out to sea. ‘Finlay’ is an iconic sculpture created by Ray Lonsdale, named ‘A High Tide in Short Wellies’. Standing 12ft tall and composed of cor-ten steel (a weathering steel like the Angel of the North), it was my gift to Filey – a resort with many fond memories!
Continue heading south, leaving Finlay to your right as you follow the beach (promenade) past Cargate Hill and the Compass water feature.
Crossing the foot of Crescent Hill, the paddling pool is reached, and a charming model of a bathing hut, striped blue and white.
A row of gaily-painted beach chalets lead to public toilets and a cafe. Do read the nearby information board regarding ‘Magnificent Men 1910-12’ detailing pioneer fliers. Royal Parade meets Martin’s Ravine, where you descend onto the golden sands to maintain your southerly direction along Filey Sands and Muston Sands, which are a complete contrast to the first section of this coastal walk!
Please note that dogs are banned from beaches from May to September. Here’s a bucket and spade area, with lovely level beach, fine soft sand ideal for the family. Seek pebbles or shells at low tide, but keep away from crumbling clay cliffs! These are being colonised in places by the sulphur-yellow flowers of coltsfoot.
Walk on past several pill boxes, and eventually the bare cliffs give way to scrub and gorse, before dwindling as Hunmanby Sands draw nearer. Flat Cliff area reveals properties dangerously near the cliff edge.
Pass Butcher Haven, and with spirits high, remain optimistic that Hunmanby Gap will lie ahead.
Eventually you’ll discover the Gap, and a flag flying to greet you! You’ll spot a large culvert where you should ascend a concrete footpath. At a red lifebelt, you just veer right and wind your way up to the Beach Cafe. It’s a very popular spot for refreshment indoors, or out on the terrace. Open from 8.30am to 4.30pm you’ve a choice of ice-cream or hot snacks and take-aways.
From the cafe, continue steeply uphill to pass a car park in a field, should you happen to have a friend to pick you up!
Car parking rates are: one hour 50p, two hours £1, three hours £1.50, and all day £2.50.
Otherwise you can either walk back to Filey, or proceed along the road to catch a bus on the A165.
The lane has a public telephone close by, and grass verges and planters enhance your return route. Reaching Moor Farm, your walk follows a line of bungalows to the left before entering the A165 Moor Road near Moor House.
Transport. Bus between Scarborough and Bridlington X20 and 120.
Refreshment. A great variety between Coble Landing and Royal Parade. There’s nothing then until Hunmanby Gap’s Beach Cafe.
Note. Level walking along the beach section. A steep path to the Beach Cafe. Wear sensible shoes for the beach.
Tides. Check tides, an outward-flowing tide is best.
Distance. 4 miles approximately from start to A165 bus route.
Copies of Rural Rambles Volume 15 are now available following a re-print. The booklet contains 17 walks plus larger maps and some illustrations, for £2.50. Entire profits to charities. For a copy send a cheque for £2.50 payable to EM Robinson and enclose an A5 sized stamped addressed envelope (a 53p stamp will cover cost). Send to Mrs M Robinson, 14 Malvern Crescent, Scarborough YO12 5QW.