by Maureen Robinson
Robin Hood’s Bay is a picturesque fishing village which lies between Scarborough and Whitby. Being a popular tourist centre, often likened to Clovelly in Devon, it’s best visited after the holiday season! Or, avoid weekends and choosing a week-day aim for early morning or evening to discover the real atmosphere!
In this district you meet steep hills, which create scenic beauty, but make walks somewhat longer than anticipated.
Drivers should take the A171 Whitby road, turning towards the coast as indicated Fylingthorpe 1.5 miles, and Robin Hood’s Bay 2 miles.
Park in Fylingthorpe near St Stephen’s Church on the outskirts of Robin Hood’s Bay. There is also a regular bus service on numbers 93 and X93.
From St Stephen’s Church, follow the road, ie Thorpe Lane, to its junction with the B1447, and you’ll find the Victoria Hotel at the top of the bank. From Bay Bank, gaze on to the jumble of red-roofed houses and tall chimneys to imagine the smuggling scene of old. Descending steeply towards the beach you’ll notice the streets in Bay Town are merely alleys or ginnels. You’ll be tempted to wander among the brightly painted cottages with colourful flower tubs blooming in sun traps. Linking the streets are cobbled slopes or short flights of steps. Passing to your left the Esplanade, Bloomswell and Martin’s Row near the Square, you’ll then observe the Laurel Inn before reaching Chapel Street.
Following the main street, ie New Road, you’ll see King’s Beck to your left, and shortly, as you approach the cobbled slipway called Wayfoot, to the left is the Bay Hotel, which dates from 1843. Its predecessor, I understand, was washed away during an exceptionally high tide!
There is no harbour. Boats are launched from the Main Street, when the tide is high, or from the beach at low tide. Children will love exploring entrancing rock pools which reveal a host of fascinating sea creatures. Please replace any rocks you may disturb.
Don’t miss the Old Coastguard Station: The Dock. Run by the National Trust and North York Moors National Park, exciting displays show the forces that have shaped the bay.
It’s open at weekends throughout the year and from June to September Tuesday-Sunday, and daily through other school holidays.
Having spent a pleasant and refreshing time in Robin Hood’s Bay with its many restaurants, cafes, inns and fish and chip shops, it’s time to move on and experience the joys ahead!
From Bay Hotel, immediately across the road on your right are Covet Hill Steps. Seek Albion Road and any local will reveal them. Climb these steps and follow a path behind the upper cottages on to the cliff top. Just a short climb to access the Cleveland Way with magnificent views before and behind you. Storms and coastal erosion have played their part in the village’s history. Take care along the Cleveland Way and respect any notices please.
Step out and enjoy the fresh, exhilarating sea breezes as you head southwards for about a mile towards Boggle Hole. Descending steps to Boggle Hole, keep a watchful eye for boggles or hobgoblins. These Yorkshire sprites are said to help you – if you treat them kindly!
Spend a little time on the beach and viewing the youth hostel. This used to be a working mill standing about 100m upstream of Mill Beck, which splashes onto the beach from the narrow valley. The building was designed without stairs. Small ships would discharge grain on to the beach for grinding here, and the mill was water-operated until 1928. It later became a youth hostel, and following further restoration now serves light refreshments.
Leaving this beautiful scene, cross the footbridge and turn right up the steep lane hedged by blackthorn and hazel, to reach a car park to the left. Here turn right between a group of buildings. A rough cart track leads to Mill Beck. Cross the beck by a footbridge and ascend the path or Monk’s Trod, until it reaches a road. Leave the road and turn right to climb the dis-used railway embankment. Now just continue along the track in a northerly direction towards Robin Hood’s Bay. Alder and willow trees are the chief species which line the track. Where the track joins the main road, turn right to return to St Stephen’s Church.
1) In the 18th century, Robin Hood’s Bay was reportedly the busiest smuggling community on the Yorkshire coast.
2) The scaurs (ie rocks) exposed at low tide were formed 170 million years ago and consist of limestone and blue shale. Fossils on beach.
3) Farsyde Riding Centre, seen en route, provides hacking for experienced riders, and trekking for novices in outstanding scenery.
Refreshment: The Bay Hotel, the Bramblewick, Swell Cafe Bar, the Old Bakery Tearooms, the Victoria Hotel, Boggle Hole’s youth hostel, and lots more including fish and chips.
Distance: Approximately 3-3.5 miles complete route.
Transport: Scarborough to Whitby service numbers 93 and X93, timetable in bus shelters on Thorpe Lane and at Fylingthorpe.