Picturesque seclusion

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Written by Maureen Robinson

With rainfall transforming meadows into meres, recent walks have followed country lanes. The good news is that this week’s walk visits a true mere, and the Mere Cafe is open!

From Scarborough’s town centre it’s hard to imagine the beauty on its immediate outskirts. A little gem of picturesque seclusion nestles between the railway line and Oliver’s Mount, behind Seamer Road’s light industries.

This easy four-mile route departs from Scarborough’s Railway Station.

Start: Leaving the railway station on Westborough, turn right along Valley Bridge Road to cross Valley Bridge itself. A plaque to the right reads: ‘A bridge 30ft wide was erected by the Scarborough Valley Bridge Company. It opened as a toll bridge July 1, 1865. Purchased by the Corporation June 12, 1891. Tolls abolished October 5, 1919. That bridge was taken down and this bridge 64’ 6’’ wide erected in its place 1926-28. Opened July 26, 1928, by Mrs Wilfred Ashley’. Admire lovely views from either side.

Ascend Ramshill Road as far as St Andrew’s Church and fountain to your right. Next cross with care and continue along West Street. St Martin’s Square is reached. Crossing Prince of Wales Terrace, the Southlands Hotel features. Cross Esplanade Gardens, and next is Avenue Victoria where you turn right, passing St Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church to your left.

At Filey Road, walk in front of Langdale Lodge (to your right), and negotiate the busy road with care to enter Queen Margaret’s Road.

Follow the path beside Queen Margaret’s Nursing Home, and as you rise, magnificent views unfold. Veer left around the bend, pass a paddock and descend towards Seamer Road Mere. Keep straight ahead past a ‘sunken island’ at the road junction into Mere Lane. Alternatively you can access the mere’s embankment to follow a footpath parallel with Mere Lane. You’ll see the jetty in the corner, and to your right beneath the trees nestles a handsome log cabin overlooking the car park. Yes - it’s Mere Cafe, selling snacks, assorted sandwiches and hot beverages. Just what you need. Winter opening times are Monday-Friday 7am-3pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-3pm. Summer openings: Monday-Friday 7am until late, and Saturday-Sunday 9am until late (ie 9pm or 10pm). With tables and seating outdoors it’s a welcome addition to this little haven. The wildfowl will always welcome any leftovers!

This mere once covered an area of 40 acres and ranked as one of Yorkshire’s lakes. In 1844 the railway was constructed. By 1887 the lake was reduced to 10 acres. The planting of trees and shrubs took place in 1900 but efforts to create an attractive park ceased until after the 1914-18 war.

In 1913 rowing boats and canoes sailed across the waters, and a cafe was opened. Fishing became a popular pastime. By 1923 lawns and flower beds had transformed the sedge-fringed lake. The war memorial then dominated the horizon, erected to commemorate those who gave their lives in the First World War.

There have been many changes, including the loss of the Hispaniola, but in all seasons this area is stunningly attractive and scenery abounds.

Form the jetty, where ducks, geese, gulls and coot assemble for tit-bits, follow either Mere Lane or the gravelled path to the northern end of the mere. [Mere Lane is united to the gravel path just past the last property.]

Just ahead, you have the option of turning right to cross a couple of bridges to the opposite bank, or veering left past Scarborough Water Ski Club to take in the entire length of the mere.

You can then return along the west bank close beside the railway line. Remarkable views are admired towards, the golden, gorse-clad hillside, and Oliver’s Mount motorcycle circuit.

Meeting the B1427 link road, turn left to cross the railway bridge. Joining Seamer Road, turn right and note the light industries en route, and Hinderwell School.

Continue along Seamer Road, and at the far end turn right along Falsgrave Road, with its shops, cafes and inns.

Reaching the magnificent edifice of Westborough Methodist Church, to your left, you may find refreshments served within, and a warm welcome. It’s just the place for completing your walk in congenial company, before returning to your departure point.

Distance: Four miles approximately.