Mind-Boggling drive, with boiling well, goblins and pigs’ house!

The Pigsty folly, at Robin Hood's Bay
The Pigsty folly, at Robin Hood's Bay

by Maureen Robinson

Wonderful in winter and stunning in summertime – a great drive to uplift the spirits! Breath-taking scenery, a boiling well, pig-sty folly, and goblins at Boggle Hole, are a few of the highlights in store.

Leaving Scarborough, take the A171 Whitby road via Scalby, Burniston and Cloughton, where you fork left at the roundabout as signed to Robin Hood’s Bay 12 miles. The direct route passes the Falcon Inn, and the Flask Inn before Pond Farm is reached.

Beyond Pond Farm, turn left on the B1416 towards Ruswarp. Seek a wood on your right, and here turn sharp right! Passing between walling, the narrow, single-track lane leads away from the madding crowd.

Remote and peaceful, views unfold towards Whitby Abbey on the horizon.

Descend to a sign and turn right to Hawsker 2 miles. Ascending from the valley, ‘Touring Caravans’ are to the left. Reaching a road junction turn right to Hawsker 1 mile. From the wooded lane, branch off left and cross a ford. From Glen Cottage ascend to Low Hawsker. When a green area features, fork right to meet the A171 and turn off immediately left into High Hawsker, with the Hare and Hounds to greet you.

Leaving Hawsker, bear left as signed to Robin Hood’s Bay and Fylingthorpe 2.5 miles, and then veer right away from a caravan site to seek a well just ahead. You can’t miss the robust, red-brick well house with a hefty slab roof. A plaque on the wall reads: ‘In the early 19th century, Mr Joseph Brown piped water from this spring to a reservoir in the grounds of Whitby Abbey to provide a clean and reliable water supply to the east side of Whitby. Previously the spring served the local community from the 12th century.

This well is known as the Boiling Well, possibly on account of movement occurring in the water. To the rear of the well house access is provided to the water within. St Hilda and the sisterhood at Whitby Abbey would have depended upon the waters of the well.

Continuing from the ‘well’, you’ll discover to the right of a bend at the road junction, Fylingthorpe’s old church - St Stephen’s. Though no longer used for regular worship, it’s well worth viewing.

Entering the outskirts of Robin Hood’s Bay pass Bay 
Garage and shortly note Grosvenor Hotel off left, and glimpse Robin Hood’s Bay.

From here, turn right along Thorpe Lane to the more modern St Stephen’s Church in Fylingthorpe. Passing the fire station and school, a steep hill is negotiated beyond Barnard’s Bakery and Butchers.

Approaching bends, bear left on the corner and enter Fyling Hall gateway. Keeping Fylinghall School to the left, follow the narrow walled lane very briefly, to the reserve side of a school sign. Halt! Bear sharp right to park on a rough track above a short row of cottages.

Walk several paces along the track above the few stone cottages.

At the far end is a folly to your left [it’s opposite a white sign reading: ‘Private Road to West Lodge Only’]. This elaborate architectural design was created in 1883 by a rather eccentric squire John Walter Barry, to house a couple of pigs! Known as The Pigsty Folly, it was built in the style of a Greek temple with 
Doric columns supporting a pediment which became roofed in copper.

Eventually it fell into disuse and was ‘rescued’ by the Landmark Trust, a charity of about 40 years’ standing which 
restores interesting buildings. It later became available for holiday-makers prepared to pay an incredible rent for a pigsty, simply but aptly furnished!

Leaving the folly, continue your drive down the lane which is banked to either side. From a gate at a lower level, use binoculars to gaze up to the folly. You may discern the remarkable workmanship, tiling, and richly decorated facade in ochre, gold and red.

Your descent meets a sign indicating a 20 per cent gradient from the beck. Rising, and falling to cross a stream, you’ll find a sign clarifying your route to Boggle Hole near Robin Hood’s Bay.

‘Beach Only’ means just that. Passing Holly Cottage to the left, you should park your vehicle in the car park available to the right. Now you have the option of a lovely lane along which to walk to access the beach at Boggle Hole, or the youth hostel by Mill Beck. It’s steep, but if you can possibly manage, make the effort to view the highlight of your drive. Nearing the beach, turn off left along a narrow, fenced path to access a wooden footbridge. Keep a watchful eye for boggles or hobgoblins. These Yorkshire sprites are said to help you, but only if you treat them kindly!

Cross the footbridge, to access the mill standing about 100m upstream of Mill Beck, which splashes onto the beach from the narrow valley. The building was designed without stairs. Small ships were used to discharge grain on the beach for grinding here.

The mill was water-operated until 1928. It later became a youth hostel, and following further restoration now serves light refreshment in season, including hot and cold drinks, cake, crisps, chocolate and ice-cream.

Leaving this hauntingly beautiful scene, re-cross the bridge and turn right along the lane hedged by blackthorn and hazel bushes, to return to the car park. Now your drive re-traces its route to reach a white house, and East Rigg to the left. Keep straight forward to Scarborough and Whitby. Re-crossing a railway bridge, proceed by the Bramblewick British Fresian herd. Bridge Holm Lane leads to the A171, emerging opposite Pond Hill Farm. Turn left along the A171.

Passing the Flask Inn off right, continue to The Falcon, and turn immediately left. Driving in front of this inn, take the first turning left as to Staintondale 2 miles and Ravenscar 2.5 miles. Pass Brown Rigg Road off right and you’ll see Rudda Farm feature to the left.

Reaching a junction turn right to Staintondale, one mile.

Entering Staintondale, I suggest you take time to wander through the village with its church and chapel and village hall etc. Ahead are distant views of Hayburn Wyke.

Your scenic route almost completed, follow signs to Cloughton 2.5 miles and Scarborough 8.25 miles. Although this drive is only about 40 miles in all, it’s the prefect way to dispel any thoughts of winter, and to welcome springtime.

Distance: 40 miles approximately.

Refreshment: Mostly inns along the main roads. Take a picnic and watch the wildlife in secluded areas.