Off the beaten track

Part of the old Scarborough to Whitby railway line near Hayburn Wyke
Part of the old Scarborough to Whitby railway line near Hayburn Wyke

Written by Maureen Robinson

This grand, cross-country route of some 5.5 miles presents glorious views, steep ascents in places, and deep mud after rainfall so be prepared. Take a 2.5 inch to the mile OS map to assist directions.

Cloughton lies 5 miles north of Scarborough on the A171 road. Accessible by private or public transport, use the number 15 Cloughton, or number 93 Middlesbrough services.

Parking near Newlands Lane, walk to the road junction and take the A171 Whitby road named West Lane. Pass the War Memorial, and from Little Moor Close and the 40mph sign, turn right at a public footpath sign. A sunken lane (often muddy) ascends to a kissing gate into a field. Go straight forward with gorse bushes to the right. At the top, go over a track to enter a kissing gate into the edge of woodland to your left. Follow the path through woodland and then ascend to a waymarked kissing gate into a sheep field. Keep straight ahead with stone walling to your right as you cross three fields. Glance back at superb views to the distant Castle Hill! At the top of the third field enter a field gate and continue on a rutted track to a farm gate on the hilltop, and a cross-track. Here, turn left to The Hullies, with post and wire fencing either side.

Reaching the farm, cut right to find an open gate between cow sheds. Very muddy! Keep to the muddy track and go through the farm gate. Ahead is a green sign post - and probably cows. Beyond the mud a delightful grassy path lined with gorse, holly and bracken descends into a valley. Here you’ll see a public footpath sign. Turn sharp left to an obvious footbridge spanning the stream. Cross the footbridge and go left along the grassy embankment to a kissing gate. Pass through the gate and bear right along a waymarked path to enter the edge of a plantation. Stone walling is to your right. Ascend the obvious path as it climbs through bracken etc. to reach the top.

Proceed by a felled tree trunk and you’ll observe beech and conifers ahead. Follow the somewhat insignificant path to a waymarker nearby. Here, turn right from a peaceful seat for a welcome cuppa.

Refreshment over, continue beneath lofty pine trees. Keep straight ahead until you reach a cross-path, and go right to pass a marker-post. Go left into the wood and walk the plank over a stream to continue through tall pine trees, silver birch and heather.

The plantation and gorse bushes are now to your right. Meet a waymarker arrow and go right. Meet a cross-track and seat. Turn right downhill by a spring or small stream and bear left by a green marker post to ascend the path presenting glorious views seawards.

Pass through a kissing gate, to follow the path seawards between post and wire fencing and a wood with wonderful stone walling to the right. This leads to a field gate opening onto the Scarborough to Staintondale road. Turn left down the hill, rounding a bend to a passing by and post box. Here, turn right off the road, and follow the public footpath sign, taking a stile to the left of a metal gate.

Keep straight forward along Nab End, by the left boundary of a field rising gently to your right. Pass an electricity pylon and your shady path leads through a field gate to a stone bridge spanning the dismantled railway track. You’ve reached your return route!

From this point, access the railtrack and head south-east towards Hayburn Wyke Hotel’s driveway. Entering a hand gate you pass a large, brick-built house to the right. Beyond, and to your left you’ll see Hayburn Wyke Hotel. Cross their driveway to remain on the railtrack, or follow the drive should you decide to take refreshment there.

Enter a hand gate on the railtrack and shortly pass North End House painted white with a red roof. A picnic table and benches off right are there for your convenience.

Passing Hood Lane at Cloughton, pass a seat on the right and leave the railtrack to veer right along a path with a fenced field to the right. Quickly reaching a road, turn right away from the road-bridge. Pass The Willows off right and Court Green Close off left, to reach the main road near Cober Hill. The Cloughton bus stop is to the right near Cober Hill. You can also catch a Middlesbrough bus by walking down Newlands Road to a bus shelter in the village.

Distance: 5.5 miles or so.

Refreshment: The Hayburn Wyke Hotel, or take a flask and picnic.

l Binoculars are always useful when seeking waymarkers and for spotting wildlife, eg deer.

Map North York Moors Eastern Area OL 27 (2½ inches to 1 mile).

Walks reference

Anyone wishing to consult walks’ booklets and other countryside archives, are invited to visit Scarborough’s Public Library.

Angela Kale is the officer with responsibility for the reference and local studies collection, and will be happy to assist.