Following the water

The view from the bridge on Hackness Road looking up the sea cut towards Scalby Nabs.
The view from the bridge on Hackness Road looking up the sea cut towards Scalby Nabs.

Written by Maureen Robinson

This delightful, easy and level walk of six miles follows a section of the Sea Cut near Scarborough.

The weir, due west of Mowthorp Bridge, marked the start of the Sea Cut. From the weir, the River Derwent was channelled into a swift-flowing stream to continue through Forge Valley. Meanwhile, the Sea Cut diverted any water over a broad, paved stoneway to Mowthorp Bridge eastwards along the original, pre-Ice Age course of the Derwent. Anyone wishing to follow the Sea Cut, which is a man- made channel eventually discharging into the North Sea at Scalby Ness (near the Sea Life Centre), may find it rather monotonous in character. We love it! The flat-topped earthen banks are clothed in grass and wild flowers, and much appreciated by dog-walkers, pram-pushers, joggers and the odd cyclist. Most of the time only a very small volume of water flows through the cut. The depth of water is only maintained as a result of weirs built at intervals. Herons, kingfishers and deer are frequently seen here. It’s well worth the effort, and a picnic will help you on your way!

Access. By private transport or bus, take the A171 Scalby Road as far as Newby’s Library, with The Rosette Inn just beyond.

Start. From The Rosette Inn (to your right), continue along Hackness Road, swinging right at the road junction to reach allotments to your left. (Anyone with private transport may park here and shorten the walk.) From the bridge, go left through a kissing gate to follow the south bank of the Sea Cut. Trees and bushes to your right partially screen the water course, and as you progress, it’s a pity that in places the vegetation has dominated the scene. Beyond the trees, the path opens up delightfully.

Brambles and wild flowers grow in profusion, and springtime is a magical month for flora and bird song. One usually sees a deer and a heron, and with luck – a kingfisher flashing by.

Eventually reaching fencing across the footpath, take the stile into sheep pasture. (Please leash any dog before it passes through the dog flap!)

A short distance beyond, a stile provides your exit from the field, and Mowthorpe Farm is viewed across the water.

Leaving the embankment, take the handgate opening onto Mowthorp Road. Turn right over the stone bridge and pass Mowthorpe Farm. Walk up the lane alongside corrugated iron out-buildings, and beside an ivy-clad wall. Beyond the farm entrance is a public footpath to the right of a metal fieldgate. Follow the narrow foot-path to a handgate. Enter, and turn right along the edge of sheep pasture. Keep the farm and two silos to your right. Your path leads beyond the silos with a line of hawthorn etc alongside.

Shortly approaching a fieldgate, you’ll observe hazel bushes and thousands of hazel nuts ripening and strewn on the ground. What a harvest for wildlife!

Keep to the hedge and post and wire fencing to meet a field-gate and waymarked stile in the corner. Take the stile, and your route follows the northern bank of the Sea Cut, with a drain to the left. Fewer folk seem to use this embankment, hence the longer grass and tall vegetation.

Take a concealed stile beside a metal fieldgate and continue by a belt of conifers to your left. To the left elevation is Scalby Nabs. A bed of dock leaves is crossed as you approach a farm-gate and stile. Here, leave the Sea Cut and turn right over the roadbridge to return to the allotments.

Or cross the road with care to take the kissing gate opposite. This opens onto a further short section of the Sea Cut which returns you to Scalby Road alongside a little blue and white painted property. By turning right along Scalby Road you return to The 
Rosette, and a popular little cafe opposite the public library named ‘The Mad Hatters’, for refreshment.

Distance. From The 
Rosette Inn return = 6 miles. Allow three hours. Or from the allotment and return = 5 miles. Allow two and a half hours.

Refreshment. The Rosette Inn, The Mad Hatters Cafe, and the public library for tea/coffee etc.

NB Please keep any dogs leashed near sheep pasture!

Driving and Rambling On

Maureen Robinson’s new booklet priced £3.30 per copy is available from Crag and Moor, 38 Victoria Road. Or send an A5 stamped, addressed envelope, plus cheque for £3.30 payable to Mrs EM Robinson to 14 Malvern Crescent, Scarborough.