New location for memorial bench

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A much-loved stone seat popular with walkers has been recovered from a cliff edge near Staithes by apprentices from the North York Moors National Park Authority.

The seat, known as Walkers Halt, is dedicated to the memory of Eric and Nina Hibbin who lived nearby at Boulby, and affords some of the best views along the coastal stretch of the Cleveland Way National Trail.

Nina Hibbin was the film critic of the Daily Worker and Morning Star, and later became the first films officer of the Yorkshire Arts Association, where she was one of the first to give grants to aspiring filmmakers.

She retired to a cliff top home at Boulby, near Staithes, where she and her husband Eric ran a café for walkers.

Nina died in 2004 aged 81 – Eric passed away earlier in 2001. The seat is positioned to face their old house, and a landslip had left the seat stuck out in its precarious position on the cliff edge.

It would almost certainly have been lost had action not been taken.

Restoring Walkers Halt are pictured left to right in the group shot are: Adam Pidgeon, Thomas Robinson, Dave Perry, Jamie Hubbard, Brad Walker and Anthony Charlton.

Restoring Walkers Halt are pictured left to right in the group shot are: Adam Pidgeon, Thomas Robinson, Dave Perry, Jamie Hubbard, Brad Walker and Anthony Charlton.

Guided by dry stone waller Dave Perry, the apprentices spent two days carefully dismantling and then rebuilding the seat in a new location with a similar view point.

While dismantling the seat, the apprentices found a time capsule left by the original waller and stone carver when the seat was built nearly ten years ago. The apprentices added a note to the box with their names and the date the seat was moved before putting it back inside.

Naomi Dillon, the National Park Authority’s senior ranger for the northern area, oversaw the work to relocate the seat.

She said: “The Halt was a favourite resting spot for local people and visitors, and features in many guides to the Cleveland Way, walking blogs and websites.

“Following the landslip, the Cleveland Way was re-routed away from the cliff edge, but I felt it was also important to move the seat so that it could continue to be enjoyed by passers-by.

“The apprentices have done a brilliant job and I am also very grateful to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, which gave permission for the seat to be sited on its land.”

Nina and Eric’s daughter, Sally Hibbin, said: “I am delighted that the National Park has been able to rescue the seat so that it can again be used as a stopping place for walkers. My parents were very supportive of those walking in the moors and this is a fitting tribute to them.”

The six apprentices are eight months in to a one-year apprenticeship in environmental conservation.

The apprenticeship was set up by the North York Moors National Park Authority in partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council and Askham Bryan College.

It offers unemployed people aged 16 to 18 from the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland experience in a range of skills, including dry stone walling, forestry, hedge laying and path construction.