I hadn’t been down to the rocks at Hayburn Wyke since about 1964, so this seven-miler was a bit of a nostalgia-fest for me.
I started at the Falcon Inn on the A171 and was pleasantly surprised to follow a series of largely unused paths down to the coast and on to Cloughton.
I guess most of the walkers around here follow the cinder track or the Cleveland Way.
A footpath sign at the southern end of the long backroad that serves the Falcon Inn guides you down steps, then left and right towards woodland. Cross a footbridge, go up the slope for 100 yards and follow a track to your right. Bypass a metal gate (obligatory Bull warning), and with the fence on your right, take a thin path towards a gap in a line of trees.
Bypass Island Farm on your right and turn left on its access track.
Shrouded for a while in a cloud of dust thrown up by Postman Pat in his little red van (I could do that – gizzajob), I materialised 100 yards later at a small stand of holly trees.
Just afterwards is a metal gate which would need much of the world’s reserves of WD40 to prise open, but a nifty climb leads to a permissive path alongside a small brook. This is lovely and typically English countryside, with butterflies, bumble-bees and buttercups all enjoying the belated warm weather.
As the brook dips away right, carry straight on to turn right after a gate in a field shared with some friendly horses. Drop down and curl left to another gate and a path through the centre of a scrumptious meadow to the far bottom corner.
In the bushes, there appears to be a blocked entrance to an old drift mine, though it isn’t shown on the map and nor are the herd of excitable cows in the fields to the left of the next section.
Follow a manky path hugging the edge of woodland after a gate, with frustrated bovines mooing at you through the bushes. The path is a tad boggy and you may need to detour into the trees occasionally, but press on until you reach the next farm. Turn left through the farmyard, through a marked gate then diagonally right to another gate at the next field boundary.
It wouldn’t be a Stroll with Stu without a cattle encounter, and in the field adjacent to a narrow track, they had whipped themselves into the sort of frenzy I’ve not seen since they stopped showing Rawhide on the telly.
A positive stampede erupted as they realised they couldn’t get at me and I was relieved to go through the next gate – and soon over a style – to turn right on a wide track.
After half a mile, turn right on the road. Follow this past Hayburn Beck Farm until you reach a lonely post box.
After sending a postcard to loved ones, turn left down a gorgeous little path with a dodgy gate. By the way, if you recently had a new carpet fitted – brown and patterned with a blue backing, using treadair underlay – this is where your carpet fitter dumped the off-cuts.
This path soon leads past what appears to be an abandoned smallholding. A crumbling shack sits beside bushes that were heaving with gooseberries and redcurrants, but if you are tempted to pop down with a carrier bag and the buildings turn out to be functional and inhabited by someone with a
serviceable shotgun, I’ll deny ever mentioning it.
Carry straight on to cross the cinder track on a fabulous stone bridge, then bear right through gates into a grassy field. Soon, go right under a tunnel and climb back up onto the railway track.
Look out for the brickwork of Hayburn Wyke station platform before turning left for a welcome gargle in the beer garden of the Hayburn Wyke Hotel.
Suitably slaked, pass in front of the hotel through a gate, then drop right into the woods. Quickly take a left down steps, then right again and ultimately you will arrive at stunning Hayburn Wyke – a shoreline of white boulders fringed by trees and waterfalls. It’s impossibly beautiful.
Retrace your steps to the first footpath sign, turn left and climb steadily.
Ignore the next Cleveland Way acorn sign to go straight on into and across a grassy field. Presently, bear left to follow a clear path parallel to the cinder track (lurking in the woods). After a mile, and just after a fantastic wetland
area teeming with wildlife, join the cinder track and head towards Cloughton.
You can get to the village and the bus stop and the pubs by climbing steps next to the first overbridge (another mile), then follow the road into the village.