Wander near the wyke

Hayburn Wyke waterfall
Hayburn Wyke waterfall

by Maureen Robinson

A popular walk of about 4.5 miles is found just north of Scarborough, departing from the pleasant village of Cloughton.

Following the Cleveland Way northwards one can enjoy fantastic coastal views, farmland, woodland, blossom in season, and bird calls. Returning along the level, dismantled railtrack presents other delights and an alternative diversion. Whatever your interests, you’ll be unable to resist the charming setting of Hayburn Wyke Hotel with refreshments indoors or out!

Access from Scarborough is along the A171 Whitby road via Newby, Scalby and Burniston to the northern end of Cloughton.

Reaching a road junction with the Ravenscar road, park near the Cober Hill Guest House on Newlands Road from where this walk commences. There is also a good, regular bus service.

Start. Just below Cober Hill turn down Newlands Lane, passing Court Green Close, to turn almost immediately right into what our friend calls, a ‘secret garden’! Enter a gate identified by the reading ‘Isaiah 26:2’ to discover a lawned area with hidden attractions including a pool, “In loving 
remembrance of May and Eddie Briggs”, a spiral stairway, brick pigeon cote and seat etc. Leave by the same gate, this time marked by ‘Ezekiel 28:13’.

Turning right, continue past The Willows etc and shortly cross a stone bridge spanning the disused Scarborough to Whitby railway line. Follow the farm road through agricultural land to the coast, with hedgerows of blackthorn, hawthorn and elder.

As the footpath descends to a car park, you may discern to the left a field revealing, ‘ridge and furrow’ farming of old, and an ancient lime kiln to the horizon.

From the car park, a seat provides admirable views into Cloughton Wyke – the ‘wyke’ being a small, sheltered bay. There’s easy access to the beach. Anglers may sometimes fish here.

At the far end of the car park, near the seat, bear left as arrowed, and admire wild daffodils, wood anemones and bluebells in season. Your route includes several ascents and descents which makes it most interesting, as you follow the edge of the cliff.

Shortly, descend to a small stream, crossed by a stone, and seek beyond, the tiny four-petalled white flowers of scurvy grass. The lower leaves are succulent and heart-shaped with a sharp, bitter flavour. During the 17th and 18th centuries, sailors found this plant to be a valuable source of vitamin C – a deficiency of which often resulted in the disease scurvy.

Next, ascend the stony way into Sycarham wood, with a heart of golden daffodils, mid-April. Primroses, violets, anemones, and wood sorrel abound. As daffodils fade, the woodland floor becomes a ‘flow’ of bluebells. Then a climb follows, aided by wooden slats across the broad pathway. Continuing beside arable land, glance back at stunning views to Scarborough Castle.

At the top, reach Rodger Trod, and a memorial seat, “In memory of Ann M Hazell, President of Scarborough Rambling Club from 1978 to 1993”. Nearby is a three-finger post. The one indicating, ‘footpath’, would provide you with a short return route via Hood Lane. However, this main route continues along the Cleveland Way ahead.

Enter a sheltered section, protected from cold winds by the golden gorse and blackthorn bushes. The fruity fragrance of gorse flowers is reminiscent of oranges and coconut, on a warm day.

Where breaks occur in the hedgerow, glimpse Hayburn Wyke, with its waterfall tumbling onto the beach. This ‘wyke’ is well known for its fossils of ferns and sea creatures.

The rooted path descends, to enter the National Trust’s woodland with stone steps. As the path levels, ignore Cleveland Way signs, and turn left towards a handgate opening into a field. Follow the wooden fencing to your right, leading to boards to help you over boggy ground and access a footpath across the field. A bank of gorse bushes ‘blazes’ to the right.

Turn right through a gate onto a good, hedged track leading to the Hayburn Wyke Hotel ahead. Enjoy a drink, or refreshment here, and let the youngsters take advantage of the recreation area. Then take the hotel’s main driveway up towards the road, but only about 50 metres ahead. Halt!

Seek the junction of road and railway track and turn left. The dismantled Yorkshire coast railway track is graced by willows and silver birches, along with a ‘corridor’ of wild flowers in season.

Shortly passing an isolated dwelling to the left, Northend House has been delightfully renovated over the years.

Proceed along the track and cross the stone bridge ahead before, (a) descending by steps to the right into Hood Lane, if you wish to return this way. Turn left up Hood Lane which leads to Newlands Road. Then turn left along the road verge footpath to return to Cober Hill in Cloughton. (b) Otherwise continue along the railtrack to the next bridge and a gentle slope leads up to the lane of your out-going route. By turning right, you’ll return to Newlands Lane leading to Cober Hill Guest House.

Distance: Approximately 4.5 miles.

Refreshments: The 
Hayburn Wyke Hotel.

NB: Please keep away from cliff edges. There are some steep ascents and steps along the Cleveland Way.