Walk to picturesque hamlet of Harwood Dale perfect for the summer
On a scrumptious summer's day, I ventured south of the river for this gentle four-and-a-half miler to the picturesque hamlet of Harwood Dale.
If you fancy a 2-hour stroll with gentle slopes and an exquisite tearoom halfway around, this one’s for you.
I’m off to the thrill rides of Orlando next year but I doubt if they employ a more optimistic engineer than Arriva buses.
Scheduling a double-decker, designed to tootle up and down Kensington High Street, to climb the precipitous road out of Robin Hoods Bay, is a triumph of optimism over gravity.
But hey, they seem to make it (albeit at a snail’s pace and with rivets popping into the bushes) and after a gasp of breath at the top, resume their merry way to Scarborough.
I alighted at the Falcon Inn, a mile or two before Cloughton.
Cross the road, to a drive heading into sprawling Teydale Farm.
I suspect this was the original route of our path, but a nifty diversion means you need to locate the footpath sign cutely hidden behind a large bush 30 yards or so along the road to Scarborough. Follow this for next to no time, and turn right along a wide track.
This soon brings you to the rear of the farm where you are implored to head left into the woods both by a waymark and a warning on the gate that you may end up manacled to a tractor tyre in the cellar if you get it wrong.
With the noise of the A171 diminishing behind you, this is lovely mixed woodland, alive with butterflies, squirrels and birdlife (and a small army of assorted bugs). The path snakes slowly downhill for a mile or so before emerging onto a wide hardcore track.
Just ahead to your left, another signpost guides you back into the woods for a few hundred yards before you merge with another decent track continuing along more open land straight downhill.
Accompanied by friendly sheep, go through a gate and turn right along Moor End Road.
The road soon turns sharp left (lookout for the love child of Desert Orchid), and heads down to the rather lovely Grainary Tearooms. Well, considerably more than a tearoom actually.
This is still the working 200-acre Keasbeck Hill Farm, but since the 1990’s it has developed into a whole lot more.
A variety of accommodation, children’s play area, trailed walks, farm shop with produce and plants for sale, and all done in a wildlife friendly kind of a way that attracts school parties and the like for rural fun and education.
The tearoom has a selection of outside tables overlooking a little lake and the valley beyond – the perfect setting for a mug of coffee and a slab of lemon drizzle cake.
Many thanks to Lolly, Blu and Bessie for the excellent service!
Suitably relaxed, grab your rucksack and turn left on the road heading down to the little village of Harwood Dale.
Not much more than a few houses, a farm and a phone box, this is village England from yesteryear.
A couple of – how can I put it – mature ladies passed me on horseback shaking their heads quietly as a cavalcade of leather clad bikers roared past on huge and noisy machines.
Peace was soon restored as they disappeared in the general direction of 2-dozen bacon butties on Scarborough seafront.
Now, at the bottom of the hill, just past that phone box, I turned right back into the fields.
My original intention was to walk a further mile down the road, to the Mill Inn.
This pub is a real step back in time, but I had forgotten to check opening times – or indeed if it is still open at all – and the TalkTalk mobile signal has yet to penetrate these valleys.
(A quick look on t’internet suggests that it is still a going concern).
So my right turn took me past Keasbeck Farm adjacent to Broadlands Chapel, past stables and through a gate alongside a brook.
On reaching a fork in the path, take the left turn through a waymarked gate, hopping nimbly over a stream.
The path vanishes in a grassy meadow, but follow another tree-lined brook on your left, slowly curling right under overhanging oak trees.
As the stream slips left carry on uphill though the grass to go through a gate, then left on a wide track.
After 50 yards it is left into the woods, admiring the destruction caused by years of offroad scramblers.
A mile and a half uphill, the path becomes a wide track leading straight on.
Finally, within sight of the Falcon Inn, take a stile to cross diagonally through a grassy field to the bus stop on the A171.
Or maybe pop in the Falcon……!