A Stroll with Stuart - A Ramble to Ruswarp

Stroll with Stuart - map
Stroll with Stuart - map

This four mile walk to Ruswarp (five and a half if you don’t get the bus back), takes in industrial heritage, vintage British woodland, a hidden waterfall and an indoor play area to appease the kids.

Starting at Whitby train station, turn sharp left up Windsor Terrace, passing those two staples of British life, a curry house and an off-licence. Stay on the lower level of this road as it passes some new cottages on the left, with names such as “Sleepers” and “Clickety-clack” indicating the proximity of the Esk Valley railway line.

As the road curves away left, head up the steep asphalt footpath ahead. The path diverts down steps on your left in order to pass under the A171 Scarborough Road.

Before doing so, I passed a guy managing to walk more slowly than me, possibly because of the 12-pack of Stella he was lugging up from the Co-op. As is customary, I said “morning” and he responded with an indeterminate primeval grunt, a snarl of derision and a general demeanour that it was somehow my fault that his head was made entirely of bone.

He was presumably headed for the underpass below the bridge where the volume of empty lager cans suggested to me that aluminium is available in commercial quantities.

Soon however, you climb back up to civilisation as the path runs parallel to the road before turning left at Caedmon school.

With the school on your right and a house on your left, head through a gap in the fence onto the school playing fields, then turn sharp right with the fence on your right.

After 400 yards, just after the school long-jump pit (go on, have a go - you know you want to), drop down and head left on the cinder track – the old Whitby-Scarborough railway line.

It’s very popular with walkers and cyclists and I can safely promise that none of the folk you meet along here (or indeed on any of my walks) are likely to be best pals with lager man.

Cross the striking Larpool Viaduct and carry on down the old track with the imposing 215 year old Larpool Hall Hotel gazing down on you away to your left.

In the 1960’s, I used to holiday down here in Camping Coaches at places such as Cloughton and Staintondale.

They were old railway coaches done out with bunk beds and powered by Calor Gas. My brother and I would be left in the evening with a pile of Superman comics, some Whitby rock and a packet of Smith’s crisps, while my parents disappeared to the Shepherd’s Arms for 3 hours.

Blissful memories and strange to think that they’d get arrested nowadays!

After a mile or so of bluebells, lesser celandines and, er, some white pretty white things that weren’t daisies (I know, I should get a book), you come to a stone bridge with steps on your left leading down to a footpath fingerpost.

Double back under the railway line and head downhill through the gorgeous Cock Mill Wood. Cross a footbridge over Stainsacre Beck (almost dry after 7 weeks without rain), then up the other side bearing right until you come to a wide track and a gate labelled “Watson’s Farm”.

Head right down the track which soon turns into a metalled road, and after a mile or so you’ll reach the impressive Cock Mill Hall (stop sniggering at the back) in the tiny hamlet of Golden Grove.

The road heads left over a bridge, but you should head straight on past what look like renovated stables and left down a stone track into the woods.

Within yards, stop and feast your eyes on Waterfall Cottage, and it’s wooden decking overlooking the falls on Rigg Mill Beck. Subdue your jealousy and make a mental note to buy another lottery ticket before heading on down the path. Keep the beck always on your left and after 10 minutes or so you’ll emerge on the minor back road from Whitby to Ruswarp.

Turn left to reach the latter in just under a mile, but be careful as the road has no pavement for pedestrians.

Cross the bridge at Ruswarp then head left down the road towards Sleights where, after a few hundred yards, you can hire rowing boats and canoes on a long and calm stretch of the river.

If you’re with your family and know you won’t be able to resist attempting a qualifying time for the 2012 Olympics, but subconsciously feel the need to protect your kids, there is an indoor adventure playground and a nice outdoor cafe just across the road.

The rest of the family can go there while you frighten the ducks. There’s also crazy golf, an animal petting farm, pottery painting and something called Laser Tag (no idea – I’m 56).

If all that’s not enough, further down the road is a good old-fashioned miniature railway, whilst in the other direction is the Bridge Inn.

OK, done with Ruswarp? Back on the main road, head up the hill towards Whitby, but quickly escape from the increasing gradient by turning right along a path just past the Butchers shop.

Stick to the paved path as it bears left across a field and uphill into woodland.

Keep on uphill through a metal gate and just keep following the stone flags ignoring some other clear tracks to either side.

After a few minutes you will emerge on the A171 which you can follow downhill back into Whitby to buy that extra lottery ticket.