|Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay (22 km)|
Wast Water - Wander
Wast Water - Scafells
Patterdale - Helvellyn
Over Maw Wyke Hole to the north
The final day on the Coast to Coast Walk! A stiff climb gets your heart working in the morning to bring the reward of a high tract of moorland. Further on there are beautiful woods, a fine waterfall, a last heathery moor and then the intoxicating cliff-tops along the North Sea. By this stage you will either be fit enough for anything or on your last legs - unfortunately there are few short-cuts from here, other than walking along the B1447 lane between Hawsker and Robin Hood's Bay.
|Grosmont House||B&B||01947 895539|
|Priory Farm||B&B||01947 895324|
|Station Tavern||Pub||01947 895060|
From the level crossing in the middle of Grosmont (by the NYMR station), head up the main street. Climb steadily to pass two turn-offs to your left and enter the stone wall enclosed Fair Head Lane. The lane is a good place to pause and look back over Grosmont and along the green patchwork of Eskdale. Looking to the east, the North Sea at the foot of Eskdale can be glimpsed with the gaunt ruins of Whitby Abbey just visible on the cliff tops.
When the lane breaks out onto the open moor, take a thin path to the right to the Low Bride Stones (well hidden in the heather) and then up to the more visible High Bride Stones. The Bride Stones are the scanty remains of two stone circles of at least 10 metres diameter. Head back to the lane from the High Bride Stones and cross straight over onto another thin, well-defined path through the heather to Flat Howe which is a round barrow with a kerb of retaining stones. This provides a grand viewpoint with the purple heather in the foreground stretching out to grassy fields and the magnificent backdrop of the coast.
|Intake Farm||B&B & camping||01947 810273|
The path continues down to the busy A169 road (cross carefully via opposing stiles) and then descends into the wooded valley of Little Beck. The hamlet of Littlebeck is a serene corner of the world. Just over the beck (by the footbridge or ford), a wicket-gate takes the Coast to Coast Walk into the woods and upstream above the beck. Soon a steepish climb rises to the Hermitage - a massive boulder with a room chiselled out of it. There is ample seating inside - just right to shelter a group of Coast to Coast walkers in any inclement weather. The higher path from here leads to a fork where the right branch drops down to a good viewpoint for Falling Foss - not a large waterfall but superbly situated in its own little gorge surrounded by fine trees.
Admire the falls and then cross the nearby footbridge for a path heading upstream on the other bank. This fords the beck in less than a minute - if impassable then there is a path on the opposite bank that branches off just before the falls. An improving path then leads nicely up to the May Beck carpark. You then double back on the road up to New May Beck Farm and depart the road at the sharp bend above the farm for a broad path across Sneaton Low Moor. By the time this path gets to the B1416 road it has narrowed considerably but is still clear. Turn right on the road and then left over a stile onto the previously untracked Graystone Hills. Hordes of Coast to Coast walkers have created a slender path through the last tract of heather on the Coast to Coast Walk.
Fellow Coast-to-Coast walkers rest at the shoreline of Robin Hood's Bay (the group by the packs).
A satisfying 2.5 kilometres later, the Coast to Coast Walk finally leaves the moors behind it and joins a leafy lane (nice view of the red-tiled roofs of Hawser) running down to a quiet back road. This is followed to the right along to the village and a crossing of the busy A171 road. The road ahead is signposted to Robin Hood's Bay and rises gently to a ridge brow. There is the first close up view of the North Sea from where the road swings to the right and the Coast to Coast Walk goes straight ahead on a tarmaced lane. The lane passes one caravan site and then arcs around to end at another site (refreshments available at the site shop). Walk through the caravans parallel to Oakham Beck to arrive at a great height above the sea at Maw Wyke Hole.
Here the Coast to Coast Walk meets the Cleveland Way, after a long absence. The thrill of finally reaching the North Sea is complemented by the magnificence of the scenery with green fields terminated by great gray cliffs lapped by the sometimes blue waters of the North Sea. The way forward is clear (remember to turn right!) and gives an exciting 4 kilometre walk along the cliff tops. There are a number of stiles. At Ness Point there is the first view of the journey's end and the path continues onto Robin Hood's Bay, passing through a wicket gate and trees into the modern housing on top of the cliff. The residential road leads straight to the village's main street and a quick descent through the heart of the old village to the sea walls. A cobbled slipway gives access to the sea and what may be a long walk over the rocks to baptise your boots in the North Sea.
|Robin Hood's Bay||Type||Phone|
|Birtley House||B&B||01947 880566|
|Boggle Hole||YH||0870 770 5704|
|Clarence Dene||B&B||01947 880272|
|Devon House||B&B||01947 880197|
|Hooks House Farm||Camping||01947 880283|
|North Cliff||B&B||01947 880481|
|Rose Garth||B&B||01947 880578|
|6 Thorpe Lane||B&B & taxi||01947 880603|
|The Villa||B&BB&B||01947 881043|
|White Owl||B&B||01947 880879|
Accommodation is available in the village (pubs and B&B) or there is a youth hostel at Boggle Hole (my choice) about a kilometre along the beach if the tide is out or you can follow The Cleveland Way along the cliffs.
For an excellent book on the history of the village have a look at A Rum Do! Smuggling in and Around Robin Hood's Bay by Patricia Labistour.
Bay Town (as it is known locally) is a fascinating place for the end of the Coast to Coast Walk. A chaotic cascade of red-roofed stone cottages squeeze through a break in the cliffs to perch on top of the modern seawall. The cottages are separated only by narrow, steep cobbled lanes. Fishing and tourism are the villages main activities today. In the past, smuggling made it a much rougher place, aided by the back-to-back houses. It was said that a bolt of silk could climb from the waters edge to the top of the cliffs without ever seeing the light of day. The main street is appropriately steep and narrow. Off it stem even thinner alleys with interesting names such as "The Bolts", "Fisherhead" and "Tyson's Steps". A climb up these winding lanes is often rewarded with views seaward over red-tiled roofs.
The powerful force of the sea is acknowledged by history (once a ship was driven into the Bay Hotel!) and monumental architecture (the modern seawall providing a touch more safety). Even more evidence is shown at low tide when a wide wave-cut platform shows concentric ridges (locally known as scars). These are the remains of a rocky dome that stood out in the bay before the sea eroded it away. Scattered over the platform are massive boulders - glacial erratrics transported here from Shap Fell in the Lake District during the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. The cliffs around the bay provide a treasure-house of geology with strata covering the entire Middle Jurassic period exposed. The contain many fossils so expect hordes of schoolchildren during the school holidays.
Robin Hood's Bay from Boggle Hole on the next day's overcast morning.