Walkers mark anniversary of Cleveland Way

Walkers gather for the Cleveland Way's 50th anniversary.
Walkers gather for the Cleveland Way's 50th anniversary.

More than 150 walkers have marked the Cleveland Way’s 50th anniversary by retracing the first footsteps on the national trail.

The trail, which runs in a horseshoe loop across the North York Moors National Park from Helmsley to Saltburn before following the coastline down to Filey Brigg, has since been enjoyed by millions of people from hikers and runners through to artists, stargazers and bird watchers.

To mark the 50th anniversary on Friday, May 24, more than 150 walkers retraced the steps of the early walkers by striding out along a three-mile stretch of the trail, aptly known as the Pilgrim’s Walk, from YHA Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey.

Leading the group were apprentices from the North York Moors National Park kitted out in 1960s walking gear, including plus fours, thick socks and carrying bulky canvas rucksacks – a world away from today’s lightweight hiking equipment.

From 1953 when the National Parks Commission and local authorities first proposed the creation of a route to the North Riding County Council it took a further 16 years before the Cleveland Way came into existence.

Since then the National Trail, which is managed through the Cleveland Way Partnership by the North York Moors National Park Authority and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, has become one of the UK’s rural treasures, carving out its own history while also providing the backdrop for many other events.

Malcolm Hodgson, Cleveland Way trail manager said: “The success of the trail over the years has been due to the hard work of our volunteers and bodies such as Natural England, the National Park, YHA, English Heritage and National Trust in helping to preserve the route and the qualities that make it so special for thousands of people each year.”

James Blake, YHA (England and Wales) Chief Executive, added: “YHA has long been an advocate of access to the countryside. This was the case when we first mooted the idea of the Cleveland Way and remains so today.

“The five youth hostels we have along the Cleveland Way are hugely popular and over the years have enabled thousands of school children to discover the transformative power of having adventures in this fantastic landscape.”