Your Day Out: Santuary for wildlife

Waterfall at Hayburn Beck.
Waterfall at Hayburn Beck.

The 21 mile railway line from Scarborough to Whitby was opened on July 15, 1885. After World War Two, use of the line declined and finally closed as part of the Beeching cuts in the mid sixties. The last train ran on March 6, 1965. The rails were removed, and in the 1970s Scarborough Borough Council acquired the trackbed for use as a footpath and cycle track. Except for a few minor diversions, the whole line remains in public use.

What sanctuaries for wildlife such dis-used tracks are becoming. Willows, silver birches and hazel, with cascades of honeysuckle and flushes of dog roses provide a back cloth for a rich tapestry of flowers. Characteristic of cinder tracks flourish tall ‘spires’ of rosebay willowherb glowing in oriental purple and pink like living flames in summertime.

Enjoy this next section of the walk from Cloughton’s Station Cafe beside the track to Hayburn Wyke’s station, with a possible short diversion to the Hayburn Wyke Hotel for refreshment in idyllic surroundings, followed by a short walk to see the secluded valley of Hayburn Wyke, and a fine waterfall where Hayburn Beck tumbles onto the beach, and liverworts, mosses and ferns flourish.

Our previous section of walking was from Scalby village’s old station on Chichester Close, just off Station Road, to Cloughton’s Station House and Tea Rooms, at the foot of Station Lane.

This week, access the start of the next section of rail track by following the A171 towards Whitby, via Burniston, and north towards the brow of the hill to find Station Lane off right. This point is accessed by public or private transport.

Descend Station Lane, passing Linton Close off right. At a 20mph sign, turn right to find number 20 Station House, with a pretty little plaque of poppies, daisies and wheat. A lamp post advertises bed and breakfast, self-catering accommodation and tea room. This most popular attraction is open from Sunday to Wednesday, 10.30am-5pm. The perfect place to start this walk, with a delightful garden when weather permits alfresco dining. Admire the Old Goods Shed before heading north and re-joining the railtrack which runs to the rear of the tea rooms.

Leaving Cloughton, the trail enters the North York Moors National Park and starts to steadily climb. During railway days, the Scarborough to Whitby Railway was quite noted for its gradients. Such gradients, when combined with sea-frets, could cause a lot of problems for an engine driver. One may well imagine such concerns with a heavy train full of holiday makers in tow.

You’ll catch glimpses of the North Sea, as the route passes the site of the old platforms at Hayburn Wyke Station. You can now look forward to a further refreshment stop at the Hayburn Wyke Hotel. You won’t be able to resist its charms. When your rail-track meets the lane descending and snaking into the valley, leave the track briefly and turn right, for the very brief stroll to the hotel. There’s a car park for those dining at the hotel; outdoor facilities, and a beautifully crafted horseshoe arch. Opening times are 11am-3pm and 6pm-11pm. Food is served from noon to 2.15pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 2pm Sunday. Food is served every evening except Monday.

Now to complete your day, make a little detour to see the waterfall as Hayburn Beck tumbles onto the beach at Hayburn Wyke.

Facing the hotel to go right, and then fork left along a hedged track. Ignore the field ahead, just bear left along the track and through deciduous woodland, and follow a path down to the beach. Hayburn Wyke has large pebbles worn smooth by wave action. Geologists often seek interesting plant fossils of ferns in the upper Lias Shales of the bay.

Return to the Hayburn Wyke Hotel, and ascend its access drive a short distance only, to where it is crossed by the rail trail. Decision time. Either turn left along the cinder track to re-trace your steps in reverse back to Cloughton, or catch a bus! If the latter, it means a very steep, winding climb up the drive to meet the Ravenscar Road, and a number 15 or 155 Ravenscar and Cloughton bus to indicate a request stop. Take great care regarding traffic on the steep, zig-zag drive!

Distance: Station Lane, Cloughton to Hayburn Wyke Hotel and return - 4.5 miles. To include waterfall - five miles approximately.

Refreshment: Cloughton’s Station Tea Room and Hayburn Wyke Hotel.

Toilets: At refreshment stops for patrons only.

Public transport: Numbers 15 and 115 Cloughton and Ravenscar buses.

Foot note: A fine cliff top return route can be enjoyed along the Cleveland Way.