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Whitby Dracula Trail

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Whitby Dracula Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 04 Jun 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guidestar1 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guidestar1 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guidestar1 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guidestar0 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, Whitby
Walk Type: History trail
Whitby Dracula Trail
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guide boot Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guide
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A 4.5 mile circular trail from Whitby in North Yorkshire, taking in many of the landmarks that form the setting for Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula. The route follows a short section of the cliff top path (the Cleveland Way) with great views out across the North Sea, before looping in land on quiet rural lanes to reach the town. The remainder of the walk takes in many of the streets and landmarks of Whitby including the harbour, the swing bridge, East Crescent, the famous 199 steps and the ruins of Whitby Abbey. It doesn’t take long to understand how the beguiling beauty of the town helped to inspire Stoker’s creative flair – although on a bright sunny day there really is nothing sinister about Whitby! And you don’t believe in vampires anyway, do you?

The route follows a mixture of pavements, quiet lanes, paved/stone paths plus one section of grass footpath. There is one kissing gate plus several flights of steps and several climbs and descents throughout. Approximate time 2 hours, plus additional time to visit any of the attractions.

The walk starts from the Abbey Car Park – the open-air long-stay pay and display car park on Abbey Lane in Whitby. Follow the brown signs for the abbey from the A171 Whitby to Scarborough road. Approximate post code YO22 4JT.

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Walk Sections

Start to Cleveland Way
Start to Cleveland Way

Start point: 54.486 lat, -0.6045 long
End point: 54.4892 lat, -0.6075 long

To begin the walk, leave the car park via the vehicle entrance and turn left onto Abbey Lane, following the paved raised walkway alongside it. You will have great views of Whitby Abbey ruins over the wall to your left.

The first abbey at this site was founded in 657AD. This was abandoned in the 9th century but, after the Norman conquest, a new Benedictine community was established, rebuilding the church in the Gothic style from the 13th century. When Henry VIII ordered the suppression of the monasteries in the 1500s, part of the buildings were adapted as a home for the local Cholmley family. The family later abandoned the site and further damage was caused when the church was shelled during the First World War. Today, the ruins are managed by English Heritage.

After a left hand bend, look out on the right for a signpost marking a right turn onto the Cleveland Way. Go down the grass bank and cross Abbey Lane to take this turn.

Cleveland Way to Hawkser Lane
Cleveland Way to Hawkser Lane

Start point: 54.4892 lat, -0.6075 long
End point: 54.4796 lat, -0.592 long

Follow the tarmac path as it swings steadily right and keep ahead onto the stone coastal path marked with an acorn symbol. Take time to enjoy the views of the cliffs and rocks below.

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was published in 1897 and several chapters of it are set in Whitby, where Stoker used to spend his summer holidays. Many of the scenes are based on real places, although he occasionally distorts the geography to fit the story. Looking out across the North Sea, imagine the Russian ship, Demeter, steered by a corpse lashed to the wheel approaching Whitby harbour.

As you reach a caravan site ahead, ignore the first path off to the right which runs to the right of the park. Follow the main coastal path which goes down some steps and then heads away from the cliffs into the heart of the caravan park.

After passing through the middle of the park’s facilities you’ll reach a fork (left onto the coast path and right onto the park access lane). Keep right here and follow the tarmac access lane out of the caravan park. Follow the lane all the way to the end where you’ll reach a T-junction with Hawkser Lane.

Hawkser Lane to The Ropery
Hawkser Lane to The Ropery

Start point: 54.4796 lat, -0.592 long
End point: 54.4821 lat, -0.6075 long

Turn right along Hawkser Lane (taking care of any traffic), heading once again for the abbey ruin in the distance. As you reach the power lines passing overhead, turn left onto the signed public footpath. Follow the grass path which runs alongside a line of telegraph poles. At the end of the path, pass through an old kissing gate and keep ahead on the rough tarmac lane between stone cottages.

Soon you will be walking between hedgerows with views of the Whitby town houses on the steep slopes of its valley directly ahead. Bram Stoker loved the Whitby skyline and wrote ‘The houses of the old town are all red-roofed and seem piled up one over the other.’

As the lane swings hard right, fork left down the narrow paved footpath alongside a tall wire fence. This path emerges alongside a property called Folly Gardens. Head down the tarmac drive and cross the main road to take the road opposite called The Ropery.

The Ropery to Whitby Bridge
The Ropery to Whitby Bridge

Start point: 54.4821 lat, -0.6075 long
End point: 54.4871 lat, -0.6127 long

Continue down the residential street for some distance. Alongside property number 52 on the left, fork left down the cobbled slope. When you reach an open square of cobbles cross diagonally to continue on the cobbled slope downhill. The slope emerges to a T-junction with Church Street, with the harbour in front of you.

Cross over and turn right. On the right you’ll pass the old Whitby Merchant Seamen’s Hospital Houses which were founded in 1675 as accommodation for retired or injured fisherman or their widows. The site was refurbished in 1996 and a colourful statue presides over the doorway.

Keep ahead passing two open air car parks on the left. Immediately after them, fork left down Grape Lane passing the Captain Cook Memorial Museum on the left. At the far end of Grape Lane cross over the road and turn left to cross Whitby Bridge.

Whitby Bridge to East Crescent
Whitby Bridge to East Crescent

Start point: 54.4871 lat, -0.6127 long
End point: 54.4886 lat, -0.6164 long

At the far side of the bridge turn right to follow the pavement alongside the quay. After just a few yards (and about 4 properties before the Buck Inn) turn left up St Anne’s Lane – a narrow stepped alleyway. At the top of the alley keep ahead uphill along Flowergate and then take the first right down the narrow Cliff Street.

At the end of Cliff Street follow it as it bends to the left and then turn left. Follow the curve of the road round to the right passing the properties on the left known as East Crescent. The characters Lucy and Mina were staying in a guest house in East Crescent in the setting of Stoker’s book.

East Crescent to Dracula Memorial Bench
East Crescent to Dracula Memorial Bench

Start point: 54.4886 lat, -0.6164 long
End point: 54.4892 lat, -0.6155 long

Continue on the road heading uphill and swinging right. At the end of the curve of houses, turn right down the steps into the park area and follow the slope to the right to reach the zebra crossing. Cross and turn left and after just a few paces fork right up the grass bank to your right.

At the top turn right and follow the path to reach the furthest bench. This bench is the Dracula Memorial Bench, which was erected in 1980 to commemorate the 68th anniversary of Stoker’s death. Take some time to enjoy the views from here which inspired Bram Stoker to use Whitby as the setting for part of his novel. Of this view Stoker wrote ‘This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over the town, and has a full view of the harbour.’ It was from this point one night that Mina saw Lucy in the church yard on the cliff opposite. ‘Something dark stood behind the seat...something long and black bending over the half reclining figure.’

Dracula Memorial Bench to Tate Hill Pier
Dracula Memorial Bench to Tate Hill Pier

Start point: 54.4892 lat, -0.6155 long
End point: 54.4895 lat, -0.6128 long

When you’ve finished admiring the views, return to the road and turn right heading downhill (up on the hill on the left you’ll see the Whalebone Arch – a reminder of Whitby’s past as a whaling port). After just a few paces, turn right through an arched tunnel.

Keep right down the long flight of steps. When you come to a T-junction in the path, turn left and then a little further along go down the steps to the right to reach the harbour-side road. Cross over and turn right with the harbour now on your left.

At the fork, keep left onto the paved walkway directly alongside the water. On the right you’ll pass the Dracula Experience, an interactive attraction for those of you wanting to scare yourselves! Turn left, back over Whitby Bridge, and then take the first left into Sandgate.

Turn right at the market square, passing to the right of the old market hall (dating to 1798). At the junction turn left onto Church Street. Where the road bends hard right, fork left past the Duke of York onto Tate Hill. Take the steps on the left to reach Tate Hill Pier.

Tate Hill Pier to End
Tate Hill Pier to End

Start point: 54.4895 lat, -0.6128 long
End point: 54.4881 lat, -0.6055 long

It was on this pier that the Russian Ship Demeter was washed up and Dracula came to shore. ‘The schooner paused not, but rushing across the harbour, pitched herself on that accumulation of sand and gravel washed by many tides and many storms into the south-east corner of...Tate Hill Pier...the very instant the shore was touched, an immense dog sprang up on deck from disappeared in the darkness.’

You may also want to take time to enjoy the patch of sandy beach here – Tate Hill Sands.

When you’ve finished at the pier, return up the steps and turn left into Sandside. Follow this as it swings right and you’ll emerge alongside the bottom of the famous ‘199 Steps’ which lead up to the abbey. Join these steps and climb to the top (there are a few benches on the way if you need a rest half way!).

At the top of the steps, fork left through the graveyard of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, which you can visit during opening times should you wish.

Pass out through the gate at the far end of the church yard and the entrance to Whitby Abbey will be on your right. Visit this should you wish - the site is managed by English Heritage and entrance fees apply. Keep to the left of the abbey and join the raised paved walkway with the wall to your right. Follow this to reach the car park where the walk began on the right.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 comments for "Whitby Dracula Trail"

great walk around the town, beautiful views of coast and surrounding area

By davidrout on 09 Feb 2015

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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3 gallery images for "Whitby Dracula Trail"

2200_0Richard1371743377 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guide Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 20 Jun 2013
Taken June 2013
2200_0Richard1371743513 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guide Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 20 Jun 2013

2200_0stephenbell1430771084 Whitby Dracula Trail Walking Guide Image by: steB
Uploaded: 04 May 2015


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