The video below is pertaining to Scarborough’s Forgotten Shores on the Cleveland Way where Phill James takes a walk from Scarborough through to Cloughton discovering some sandy and rocky beaches along the way.
Watch Scarborough Cleveland Way
North Bay Railway
Scarborough’s Forgotten Shores Cleveland Way
Today I have travelled to Scarborough, but not simply to travel on Scarborough’s historic miniature railway, but to take a walk between Scarborough and Cloughton upon some rugged but extremely scenic cliffs overlooking the North Sea. This walk isn’t only about marine life but on the left hand side of the trail is some idyllic fields bursting with seasonal crops.
Prior to my 4 mile walk along Scarborough’s shoreline on the Cleveland Way, I am enjoying a short journey from Peasholm Station to Scalby Mills on a railway that has existed since 1931. This of course is an unconventional way of starting a scenic walk but it does add to a fantastic day here in Scarborough. The route takes you around the Sky Trail as well as Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre before the scenery opens out to amazing vista across the North Sea. This is an amazing way of beginning a series of video diaries pertaining to stunning walks in the county of North Yorkshire, one of England’s largest counties.
We first of all walk to the seafront but then climb up to cliff height where we take the Cleveland Way, or at least a section of it, to Burniston and Cloughton. This walk is extremely easy to follow and believe me, the views from here are stunning.
The Cleveland Way is a 109 mile walk between Helmsley, Saltburn by the Sea and Filey. Scarborough is just one of the calling points en-route. The Cleveland Way could form a walking holiday and staying overnight along its route. So let’s get started!
Scarborough’s Forgotten Shores Cleveland Way
The North Bay Railway aside, you could say that we are beginning our walk at the Old Scalby Mills public house which is unmistakable owing to the footbridge beside it. This footbridge we are going to take across the water to our brief ascent to cliff level.
Behind you is the amazing views you receive of the Norman castle which is open to visitors. You might even desire to begin this walk at South Bay to extend the distance a little further. The White Pyramids that you see are the buildings for Scarborough’s Sea Life Centre, somewhere that you can feature into your visit. However, I recommend booking in advance for cheaper tickets if you do.
You will notice a beck beside you and this is technically known as the Sea Cut but more often referred to as Scalby Beck which derives from the River Derwent.
It is not that difficult to ascend to cliff level, but when you do the scenery is immediately stunning, especially on a good weather day like today. However, do not believe for a moment that this walk is simply about the coast and views across the North Sea. There is far more to this walk than you might imagine.
As a sort of gauge to the walk, you can see how far you have sojourned owing to the size of Scarborough Castle of which you can see throughout this route to Cloughton. This mainly because of its elevated position on the headland.
Even with the castle views behind you, you can benefit from views of coastline cliff edges that protrude outwards into the open sea. On a sunny day like today, you are surrounded by scenery of mainly blues and greens that look amazing. What is equally amazing about this coastline is the amount of private beaches that are uncovered by the low tides, and these beaches are accessible too.
The Sea Cut flows gently through the rugged but stunning terrain behind you as we leave Scalby behind.
Of course, if you decide to head down to one of these beaches, you need to be cautious regarding rough seas and the high tides which can rise quickly. When engaging on a walk such as this one, it is strongly advised to bring plenty of water with you and perhaps some food just in case. A first aid app and What Three Words are useful smartphone apps to have installed just in case of an emergency. Another essential, at least for me, is a good camera because you can receive some great photography here.
Scarborough’s Forgotten Shores Cleveland Way
One aspect of this walk that really caught my attention was the translucent waters over the rocks below. With our elevated position you can simply look down on top of the waters and see through that film of blue above the beach beneath.
If you are heading northwards on this route, it is advisable to look back from time to time to receive views of the castle. You can receive some amazing photos from here with the right lens.
Not far along this route you will see a junction for the Tabular Hills. This walk also takes you to Helmsley via a 48 mile walking route. The Tabular Hills are a range of hills than span the foot of the North York Moors National Park from here to Black Hambleton. They have a distinctive table top shape that rise gently from the south to the north.
Aforementioned, the left hand side contains a complete contrast to the sea views on the right. This of course is the very impressive farmland featuring not only crops but also livestock. Therefore it is a coastal walk and a countryside walk all in one go. Additionally, the wildlife here is a mix of marine life and inland wildlife as a result.
As this is a major walking route, the paths tend to be in good condition and easy to walk upon. In fact the grass had been cut to perfection here. Of course, we want to stick to these and not venture too close to the edge. It is dog friendly providing your dog is on a lead.
One problem I have discovered this morning is the constant bombardment of midges owing to the essential crops being grown nearby. I also noticed some holiday accommodation upon the Cleveland Way which is ideal for any walkers wanting to stay overnight. Of course, Scarborough itself has many places to stay too albeit not as rural.
During the summertime, the fields are often laced in wheat and you can often tell when it is ready to harvest owing to the ears leaning over. You might discover oats and barley too depending on what has been planted.
Seagulls are often spotted along the coastline, mainly herring gulls and kittiwakes. These oftentimes carry a warning as feeding them can encourage conflict with humans. Gulls can become somewhat combative when it comes to food, so it is advised not to feed them and be cautious of the disposal of litter.
Walking by the wheat fields, I could recognise that the crops was far from ready to be harvested.
Looking backwards, I can see that the castle is beginning to get further away in the distance as we progress along the cliff sides. In any case, it is an eye-catching view. As is the rolling hills across the North Yorkshire countryside.
In the spring summer especially, you can witness many species of wild flowers and plants such as this Rosebay Willowherb. However, this is far from the only species we see today.
The remnants of Scarborough Castle in the distance is beginning to appear much smaller now, and I mention that this is a gauge to this walk. Facing the opposite direction is another landmark but much smaller in dimensions. However, you won’t get to see it straight away from Scarborough but it appears further along this route.
This tiny white hut is actually a coastguard station from 1927 to look out for enemy ships. As the First World War finished in 1918 and the Second World War began in 1939, I was puzzled as to why it would bare this purpose. It appears to still be in use today owing to obvious signs of equipment.
In any case, we follow and weave around the jagged coastline of the Yorkshire Coast leading up to the station. If you own a pair of binoculars, I recommend bringing these with you as you can look out across the sea at boats and other sea navigable vessels traversing the ocean.
The shores are not all densely populated with rocks but occasionally you will see some sandy beaches too. Of course, visit these with caution, but undoubtedly you will likely see crabs and other marine life along the shoreline.
The shores and the sea views stretch out into infinity, but the rolling North Yorkshire hills do also. This really is a fascinating and satisfying walk to commit to.
There are occasional benches to sit down upon and allow your eyes to roam the scenery they are facing. Some benches are historic whereas others are more of a modern construction.
The little white coastguard station is our current goal and sat upon the headland, it almost appears to be emulating the castle behind us. In Roman times, a signal station existed upon the tip of the headland where the castle is situated.
Depending on your plans, you might want to walk back to Scarborough the same route. Alternatively, you might want to catch a bus from Cloughton back to Scarborough which cost me around £3.65 in 2019. These ran approximately every 30 minutes but it is best to check timetables first.
Probably more frequent than the buses are the plethora of boats enjoying or even working on the North Sea. Scarborough has not only a working harbour but also a busy marina too.
You might imagine the top of the cliffs to be reasonably flat and easy to walk upon. By and large, they are but there are some stepped ascents and descents on this route too. Therefore if you have issues with climbing steps then you may find this walk difficult to achieve.
You might consider it difficult to discover marine life simply looking at the ocean, but in actual fact it pays to be vigilant. It is not uncommon to find creatures such as porpoise exposing their fins above the surface of the water. Don’t forget that in 1930, Scarborough was the location of a 630lb tunny being caught amazingly being caught with a rod and line. The North Sea is far from baron, and the Yorkshire coast has been a sighting place for many incidents of marine life.
Albeit hazy, looking back towards Scarborough with a lens reveals some of the rugged landscape and the sun being caught upon moving traffic on Royal Albert Drive.
Crossroads For Burniston and Shore
Scarborough’s Forgotten Shores Cleveland Way
Just prior to a turn off for Burniston which is Cloughton’s next door neighbour, there is a stepped dip. At the foot of this dip is a path down to a rocky beach which is a must to explore. It takes you to sea level and you can carefully walk along the large stones and receive some astonishing views of the cliff’s, shoreline and the North Sea.
It would be nice to place your flag upon this private beach and claim it as your own, but a lady I spoke to told me she used to meet here boyfriend here in times past.
If you are suffering from foot fatigue or you are unable to manage lots of steps, you can shorten your walk here and take the route to Burniston instead. However, you might be just a little breathless when ascending the flight of steps back to cliff level.
Don’t be surprised if you see the Regal Lady out here which is a tour boat from Scarborough. It originally was employed in operation dynamo at Dunkirk in her heyday.
The rocky shores continue beneath as we venture further towards the turn off for Cloughton. The walk is around 4 miles, totalling to 8 miles if you venture back to Scarborough the same way. Of course, you can follow the coastline as far as Saltburn in Cleveland upon the Cleveland Way.
Of course, don’t forget to stop every now and then for a drink especially on a hot day like today. Of course, be prepared in winter months as the coast can be a few degrees cooler.
As we reach the coastguard station, you can see that it is still in use by HM Coastguard owing to the telecoms attached to it.
Again you can look downwards at the rocks below and watch the blue translucent waters overlap the rugged shores. In some places there were some semi-circular patterns created by the sea tides which made some interesting photography. However, you don’t have to be a photographer to enjoy these.
Inevitably, the cliffs are ideal homes for seabirds of any kind, but of course the best place to see seabirds in Yorkshire in Bempton Cliff’s bear Bridlington.
We can now gauge how far we have walked by comparing the station with the castle which is now way out in the distance. However, our walk today is not over just yet.
You cannot help but stop and look around you from time to time. As a photographer, I cannot help but constantly look out for compositions as I am travelling. It tends to be something that a photographer will do naturally and without letup. If you have your smartphone camera or any other camera with you, this amazing coastline will no doubt feature in it if you come to do this walk.
You will get to witness some further farm buildings as you approach the turn off for Cloughton which is a strong indication that you are almost there.
In a way, it is somewhat sad because I am really enjoying the scenery here as well as the summer weather. Fortunately, it is quite breezy and I am not feeling the heat as much here.
And I am not the only one. The Cleveland Way is a popular walk and it is not surprising with these amazing coastal views as well as the rural landscapes beside you. Fortunately the sea breeze isn’t robbing walkers of their summer hats.
You will see a particular shaped cliff formation and you know that this is your end point for Cloughton approaching. Today the sea is quite calm but you can imagine the dramatic scenes here when it isn’t. Undoubtedly, a tempest will create some rough seas casting sea spray amongst the limestone cliffs beside you.
The North Sea is vast at around 600 miles long and 360 miles wide and spans Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France. Therefore what we see here is just the tip of the iceberg. You cannot even imagine just how much marine life that expanse of water will contain. All of a sudden the 109 mile stretch between Filey and Helmsley seems somewhat short in comparison.
As the wheat waves too and threw in the strong breeze, I can see more contrasting rural farmscapes in the distance with some cattle in view.
Unfortunately, I can also see quite a lot of steps to climb too. Although much of the time the walk is quite easily achieved, there are some considerable staircases at times. Attempting to understand them as calories burned doesn’t help when you find yourself out of breath. However, they do make some interesting photographs. As a tip, having something like a path or road heading out into infinity creates depth and layers a photo. It is also good to layer your images with something in the foreground or background to present a more interesting shot.
In any case, the views from the top are stunning and it is worth getting breathless for a few moments, burned calories or not. The coastline has consists of some coves which also make for some interesting photography if not views as you are walking along. In which case, it is more than likely you will want to record some photos using your smartphone. Moreover, there is so much to take a snap at along this route either with your lens or with your eyes.
This unique cliff formation now becomes near touching distance as you head further along and you can actually walk down to shore level here too. Obviously this is when the tide is out.
At either sea or cliff level, you are bound to receive some amazing views both seascape and landscape. And the insect world also contributes such as this. I would love to be able to tell you what this is, but as much as I have investigated I haven’t found anything remotely like it.
Wild flowers also are a common feature, so they must be hardy with the salty sea air and the inclement coastal weathers that are present from time to time. However, there are some things that thrive on those strong sea breezes and it is not just the wild flowers on the cliff tops.
The rule of thumb is that what goes up must come down and that is extremely true on this section of the Cleveland Way. It is not only the path that this refers to, but also the walkers upon it as well.
Another mystery on this walk was a large white stone that was planted in the cliff top. I was unsure if this was ornamental, a marker or perhaps even a burial. Still, it was another one of those intriguing if not bewildering features that you discover on a walking route from time to time.
Cloughton is a village that is located 4 miles away from Scarborough town centre and its main landmarks are two public houses as well as a parish church. The pubs are The Red Lion and Blacksmith Arms at the time of filming. It is also the location of a popular conference centre known as Cober Hill. Cloughton is also the home of a famous Yorkshire cricketer Craig White, an author Reverend G.P. Taylor and Craig Hiley a Yorkshire photographer. Yet the village has a population of just under 700 people.
What now becomes a somewhat floral route, I can just about get to see the village in the distance. However, understandably I am more distracted by the coastline at this point. Still, I was amazed how many large white butterflies were attracted to the coast, or at least the wildflowers enduring the sea breeze.
Unfortunately, there was just one more hurdle for me to endure and it was far from a simple sea breeze. Therefore you can understand why I tell you that this walk is not suited for those who cannot climb many steps. However, the continuing seascapes help you to endure these breathless moments with further breath talking scenes. Of course, many health apps record how many flights you have achieved so at least you’ll have an impressive record today.
You can imagine the joy I felt when I saw this particular signpost. As I mention, you can follow this route much further, as far as you like. You unlikely wouldn’t walk the entire 109 mile stretch in a day, but you can make a walkers holiday consisting of a week or two.
We hope you enjoy your walk along the Cleveland Way and we will see you next time!
Phovlography! (Appears on www.philljamesbroadcasting.co.uk)