May is the month for viewing bluebells, that cover Britain’s woodland floors, hedgerows, scrubland and sea cliffs, with a thick carpet of deep blue. Bluebells are native only to the lands fringing the Atlantic. Their small white bulbs contain starch, and were used to stiffen the ruffs worn by gentlefolk in Elizabethan times, and also to make glue.
This week our walk coincides with bluebell time, and the opening of Ravenscar’s Visitor Centre, which opens daily between Easter and October, and is completely free. The distance of the route from St Hilda’s Church is about three miles approximately. The route is easy to follow, with good tracks and greenfields. It’s ideal for outings in spring and summertime, when bluebells colour the woodland floor.
Explore the fascinating remains of the old alum works. These are relics of an industry that lasted for 250 years. They’re open to the public free of charge.
Access to Ravenscar is by private transport, or the 115 bus service from Scarborough to Ravenscar. From the old dis-used windmill, follow the road into Ravenscar to park near St Hilda’s Church, off to the right. Your walk starts from here.
Start. From the church keep straight ahead towards the Raven Hall Hotel. You’ll see to your left the Ravenscar Visitor Centre (a) where you may wish to call for an ice-cream or cuppa.
(a) Leaving the Coastal Centre, walk towards the entrance and driveway to the Raven Hall Hotel. Turn left just before the hotel grounds and follow the track down, admiring stunning views of the coastline.
(b) Continue down the track to cross the golf course and enter the cool woodland shade of the National Trust.
Binoculars will help you identify birds or mammals. Be careful where you tread, as adders frequent the area, and love to bask in the sun.
(c) Just ahead, and to your left, seek a few steps leading up to a freshwater pond. From the viewing platform you may observe amongst the pond weeds, frogs and insects, with damsel flies darting over the water’s surface.
(d) Continue alongside Bluebell Wood to your left. Bluebells are a sheer delight in springtime, and you may spot an occasional white or pink one.
(e) Now head down towards the Alum Works ‘circular’, before heading back to Bluebell Wood.
Your upward route now has the woodland to your left and provides a cool, shady stroll which follows the Cleveland Way.
(f) Shortly, the footpath levels out. You’ll discover another path which joins yours from the right. Take this path as it will lead you onto the Brick Works ‘circular’. It will also take you to the double railway bridge. Those interested in history and railways must make a point of seeing it.
(g) Your steps are now returning towards Ravenscar, with its promising refreshments.
Take time to absorb the peace and tranquillity of this final stretch, and make a mental image of fantastic views to savour on wintry days.
(h) A short incline will take you past the old railway tunnel and return you to the visitor centre.
Continue up the lane to St Hilda’s Church and your departure point.
Distance of route from St Hilda’s Church: 3.5 miles approximately.
Refreshment: Raven Hall Hotel, and the visitor centre, or take a picnic.
Public Transport: The 115 service bus from Scarborough to Ravenscar.