Sunday 1 September 2013

Cleveland Way - Coastal Walk from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay

Whitby is a picturesque and atmospheric fishing town steeped in maritime history on the North Yorkshire coast. It is packed full of cobbled streets, alleyways and old fisherman’s cottages that all appear to be piled up on top of one another. I’ve been visiting Whitby for nearly two decades now and it is a firm family favourite.
In all that time I have never walked along Cleveland Way from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay, as visits are usually in the depths of winter. So this time, I was determined to take advantage of the glorious sunny weather and complete the eight mile coastal walk.
We set off from our cottage at the end of Henrietta Street walking past the wonderful smoky smells emanating from Fortunes Kippers (a renowned smokehouse and shop selling fabulous smoked kippers) and along to the bottom of the 199 steps. Upon reaching the top of the steps, you enter the sacred ground of St. Mary’s church (the graveyard is used as a setting in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula) and immediately pass the intricately carved Caedmon Cross. This twenty foot high monument commemorates Caedmon, a farm worker who went on to become the creator of English sacred song and England’s first poet. 

It is well worth the effort of climbing up the 199 steps to St Mary’s churchyard as you are rewarded with stunning views of Whitby harbour and beyond to the coastal village of Sandsend. The atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey dominate this part of the headland and always provide a great photo opportunity! 
Photo on the top left shows Saltwick Nab where Rohilla ran aground in 1914
Cleveland Way is a well signed trail and we were able to easily pick out the route by the Abbey that hugs the edge of the cliff tops. The walk has gentle terrain with occasional steep inclines. Sights along the way include rugged cliffs, idyllic farmland and lighthouses. Dotted along the trail are points of historical interest such as Saltwick Nab where the hospital ship Rohilla ran aground in 1914 and you can also see hints of a coastal coalmine.
After a couple of hours we were eventually greeted with the stunning sight of Robin Hood’s Bay. Robin Hood’s Bay is a small fishing village where row upon row of tiny cottages hug the two steep cliffs. It has one small road down to the bay and access is mainly on foot along a rabbit warren of narrow cobbled streets. The Bay’s lifeblood used to come from fishing and smuggling. Today it thrives on tourism and it was lovely to see dogs and children alike running in and out of the sea at low tide.
I’d like to add that we did our bit for the local economy and had an ale in two of the three pubs there after we had wolved down a portion of delicious fish and chips from Mariondale Fisheries. All in all it was a totally enjoyable walk with great views of the dramatic coastline. I thoroughly recommend giving it a go!


  1. Aah! All my favourite places!
    We are kindred spirits! X

    1. We love it there and have some great memories form over the years