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Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke

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Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 08 Jun 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guidestar1 Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guidestar1 Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guidestar1 Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guidestar0 Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, N York Moors
Walk Type: Coastal
Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guide boot Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guide boot Robin Hood's Bay and Maw Wyke Walking Guide
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A 6 mile circular walk from Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire coast. The route joins the Cleveland Way coastal path heading north to reach Maw Wyke, before turning inland through a caravan park to join the Cinder Track, a disused railway line, for the return leg.

The paths can all get quite muddy after periods of wet weather and the Cleveland Way has several climbs and descents through gullies. The surfaces are at some points paved with rocks as steps but these can also get quite slippery. There are no stiles, just a few gates and kissing gates. Keep children and dogs under close control on the coastal path as the cliff edges are unfenced and have very sheer drops. Where landslides disrupt the route there will be diversions into the adjacent fields which are likely to be holding both sheep and cattle (although the fields are very big so this doesn’t really pose a problem). You are likely to be sharing the return leg along the old railway with both horse riders and cyclists. There are public toilets at the car park at the start. Allow 2.5 to 3 hours.

The walk starts from the Station pay and display car park in Robin Hood’s Bay on Station Road. Robin Hood’s Bay is just a few miles south of Whitby and is accessed via the main A171 road. Approximate post code YO22 4RA.

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Walk Sections

Start to Rocket Post Field
Start to Rocket Post Field

Start point: 54.436 lat, -0.5361 long
End point: 54.4372 lat, -0.5316 long

Leave the car park opposite the toilets and turn left back down to the main road. Cross over with care, turn left and take the first right into Mount Pleasant North (signed Cinder Track and Cleveland Way). Continue all the way to the end of the road where you’ll reach a three-way signpost.

Go ahead through the gate signed for the Cleveland Way, joining a fenced stone track. Continue past properties on the left and their sea facing gardens on the right. Soon the circular bay, which gives the town its name, becomes visible across to the right. Pass through another gate and you’ll reach the National Trust sign marking Rocket Field Post.

Rocket Post Field to Coastguard Lookout
Rocket Post Field to Coastguard Lookout

Start point: 54.4372 lat, -0.5316 long
End point: 54.4431 lat, -0.5222 long

Follow the path a little further ahead and in the field on the left you’ll see the Rocket Post which gives the field its name - a telegraph pole with extra wooden rungs each side.

The Rocket Post was used by the coastguard to practice rescuing ship-wrecked sailors from this stretch of the North Sea. A rocket was fired from the post towards the stranded ship, carrying a double strand of fine line. The sailors grabbed the line, securing it around the mast from where it could be fed through to be replaced with a stronger rope. A Breeches Buoy – a circular life belt with shorts attached – was then sent along the line to the ship so that sailors could climb inside and be hauled to shore.

Follow the Cleveland Way left through a gate as the path passes through the edge of the field containing the Rocket Post. Keep close to the right hand field boundary and just before the end of the field pass out through the gate on the right to re-join the cliff-side path.

Note: from this point you’ll be following the Cleveland Way for some distance. Obviously over time there are landslips at various points along the coast, so the diversions in and out of the fields will vary. Don’t worry if your route doesn’t follow the directions exactly – just follow the Cleveland Way signs (the acorn symbol) to reach the landmarks along the way.

Keep ahead passing a Bay Ness National Trust sign on the left. Soon afterwards you’ll pass through the first small gulley dip within the path, then keep left then right through the kissing gate to follow a field edge section – a diversion from the eroded coastal path. Up on the slope of the hill to the left you’ll see a brick and timber structure, the coastguard lookout point for Ness Point.

Coastguard Lookout to Railway Path Sign
Coastguard Lookout to Railway Path Sign

Start point: 54.4431 lat, -0.5222 long
End point: 54.4498 lat, -0.5318 long

At the far end of the field, pass out through the gate to continue on the coastal path. Further along if the tide is out you’ll see plateaus of stone stretching out to the sea.

The coastal cliffs and foreshore exposures around Robin Hood’s Bay constitute one of Britain’s classic geological localities and have been studied since the 1820s. There is a sequence of exposed Lower Jurassic rocks which yield fossil ammonites and occasional marine reptile fossils. The cliffs here are also known for their abundance of Whitby Jet, a gemstone derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure more than 180 million years ago. The saying ‘jet-black’ derives from this stone.

Follow the path for some distance and you’ll follow it around the curve of a low but protruding headland. The path then turns inland and over a wooden footbridge to reach a three-way signpost. (The Railway Path is marked to the left and should you wish to shorten the route you can turn left here and then turn left along the disused railway back to Robin Hood’s Bay).

Railway Path Sign to Caravan Park
Railway Path Sign to Caravan Park

Start point: 54.4498 lat, -0.5318 long
End point: 54.4599 lat, -0.5506 long

For the main route keep ahead on the Cleveland Way as it swings left, crosses a footbridge and climbs fairly steeply uphill to reach a gate onto the next section of cliffs. Follow the path for some distance.

The Cleveland Way is a long distance path and National Trail. It is 110 miles long and follows a horseshoe shape from Helmsley to Filey. It was the second National Trail to be opened (back in 1969).

Eventually on the hills ahead, the static caravan site will come into view. You will be leaving the Cleveland Way to pass through this for your return route. As the caravan park draws closer, you’ll cross two gullies paved with rocks as small steps and ahead you’ll see the cliffs of Maw Wyke.

The path swings inland into a small grass clearing. Fork left here (signed Hawsker) onto the path heading directly to the base of the caravan site.

Caravan Park to Cinder Track
Caravan Park to Cinder Track

Start point: 54.4599 lat, -0.5506 long
End point: 54.457 lat, -0.5599 long

Follow the tarmac path climbing through the centre of the caravan park. Pass through the gate at the top and turn right along the lane. Pass by the park reception on the right and follow the lane as it swings left signed again for Hawsker.

Follow the road as it swings right and begins to climb once again. Continue along the lane and immediately before you reach the next caravan site, turn left onto the obvious disused railway known as the Cinder Track.

Cinder Track to 4x4 Course
Cinder Track to 4x4 Course

Start point: 54.457 lat, -0.5599 long
End point: 54.443 lat, -0.5273 long

Follow the Cinder Track for some distance. From 1885 to its closure in 1965, the railway line from Scarborough to Whitby ferried passengers and goods up and down the North Yorkshire coast. It now forms 21 miles of Route 1 of the National Cycle Network. The name Cinder Track was coined by locals because the track ballast was made from cinders rather than crushed stone.

As Robin Hood’s Bay comes into view ahead, you’ll draw level again with the coastguard lookout on the left (the whitewashed section just visible over the brow of the hill). On the right you’ll see a 4x4 training course with steep dirt tracks which test even the most experienced driver’s skills.

4x4 Course to End
4x4 Course to End

Start point: 54.443 lat, -0.5273 long
End point: 54.436 lat, -0.5364 long

Keep ahead on the Cinder Track and you will emerge to a collection of properties. Bear left and then right and you will pass on the left the gate you took for the outward leg. From this point retrace your steps back to the car park. Follow Mount Pleasant North to its end. Turn left and then immediately right to reach the car park.

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


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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