Step into spring

Looking back towards Scarborough from Gristhorpe Cliffs
Looking back towards Scarborough from Gristhorpe Cliffs

Written by Maureen Robinson

Blow away the winter blues and step into spring with this invigorating walk. It’s barely five miles from the centre of Scarborough, and is easily accessible by private or public transport.

Take the A165 road from Scarborough to Filey, and park in the vicinity of the Plough Inn, Lebberston, from where this route begins.

Country lanes, farms, and the Cleveland Way present changing scenes and a coastal panorama of great splendour. The route is easy walking in all seasons, and you may view many seals, herons, and waders depending on the time of year.

In 1834 a hollowed-out oak coffin hewn from an oak log was unearthed on Gristhorpe Cliff, just one mile north of the village. It was found to contain the skeleton of a 6ft man. He was believed to have been a chieftain of high standing during the period of the Bronze Age, around 1,500BC.

Being well-preserved, it was presented to Scarborough Museum (ie the Rotunda) where it may still be viewed.

Start. From the Plough Inn, walk up Redcliffe Lane for about 300m, and turn right along a farm’s access drive with metalled surface. Nearing the top pass farm buildings to your right, as your road becomes a farm track heading towards the 

Keep directly ahead to an arrowed gate-post and turn left along the edge of a field. Follow the field boundary to meet the coastal footpath which is the Cleveland Way.

Turn right along the Cleveland Way to enjoy the freedom of this cliff top walk. Seals are frequently seen and heard on Calf Allen Rocks. As you walk along Gristhorpe Cliffs take time to scan the rocks south of Yons Nab. Some of those ‘boulders’ you see which may be grey and mottled fawn, could be seals when viewed through binoculars. Herons are usually observed too along the beach. Beware of cliff falls!

Shortly, you’ll notice a sign to your right indicating a private footpath to Flower of May Farm and Camp only.

Remain on the Cleveland Way as it gently ascends the cliff and steepens towards a caravan site.

The coastal path passes in front of the ranks of caravans along Gristhorpe Cliffs. Admire splendid views northwards to Cayton, Scarborough and towards Ravenscar.

Reaching a finger post you have the option of extending your route along the Cleveland Way towards Filey, or returning by turning right to Gristhorpe.

To complete this walk, turn right away from the cliff, and crossing a tarmac track to the private campsite, descend the metalled lane directly ahead.

Meeting a road junction, veer right and you’ll see to your right Cliffe House Farm dated 1885.

Fields extend either side as you follow the lane southwards and take a right-angled bend west to walk parallel with the busy A165 coastal road. A sign indicates, Scarborough 5 miles.

Cross the entrance to Crow’s Nest Caravan Park, and subsequently the Flower of May Holiday Park and Lebberston Golf Club, to return to the garage sited opposite your starting point – The Plough Inn.

Distance: 3 miles approximately.

Refreshment: The Plough Inn, or nearby Redcliffe 

NB. Binoculars are highly recommended.

Remember notices and signs etc may change from time to time. Please beware of possible cliff falls.

View the Gristhorpe Man’s coffin in the Rotunda Museum.