North York Moors CAM

 

Thursday 2nd August 2001

Weather: Warm & sunny to start with then a 'sea fret' came in

Robin Hood's Bay - Ravenscar

( 10 miles )


 

Today's walk begins at the old railway station buildings (now a holiday accomodation) in Robin Hood's Bay
- there's a public car park very close by (Grid Ref: 950 055)

 

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Our outward journey follows the route of the disused, scenic old railway track from Robin Hood's Bay to Ravenscar

 

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After about a mile we pass the pretty little house which was once the small station that served Fyling Hall

 

Two miles further on, as the track gently ascends, we begin to enjoy magnificent views north to Robin Hood's Bay . . .

 

. . . and south-east towards the cliffs at Ravenscar

 

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The purple heather, which has crept down the banksides from the neighbouring moors, is just beginning to bloom

 

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Just before we reach Ravenscar, obvious signs of a past industry appear on our right - the remains of Ravenscar brickworks

The Whitaker Brick Company started to produce Ravenscar bricks in 1900 - these were originally to be used
in the construction of the proposed new town. The works were on the site of the old Alum quarry and were conveniently
situated right next to the railway line providing perfect transportation access

Although the planned building of the resort never materialised, the brickworks did flourish for a while,
supplying the bricks for the 'Northstead' housing estate and the Odeon Cinema in Scarborough, during the 1930's

 

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Ravenscar is often referred to as the ' town that never was ' . . .

The Ravenscar Estate Company bought the entire area for 10,000 in 1895 with the idea of creating
a new seaside resort to challenge those of the nearby towns of Whitby and Scarborough

300 men were employed to lay drains and construct new roads, and plots were offered for sale.
Special excursion trains were laid on to bring potential purchasers from the cities of the West Riding and the Midlands
Unfortunately, mainly due to the site's exposure to the wild, north-east gales at the top of the 400ft cliffs,
few buyers were tempted, and the Company was forced abandon the project and went into liquidation in 1913.

In the above photographs, the road on the left (Station Road) was proposed to be the main shopping street.
Cliff House (on the right) was to be part of a long terrace of guest-houses on the planned 'Marine Esplanade'
- it still does B & B, handy for walkers on the Cleveland Way

 

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We leave the 'ghost town' and head back north along the Cleveland Way towards Robin Hood's Bay

The track winds down through a small golf course below the mock battlements of the impressive Raven Hall Hotel
- King George III was reputedly treated here for madness

In good weather, the views from here across to Robin Hood's Bay are superb
- unfortunately for us today, a 'sea fret' (fog) was on its way in (you can see it coming in the top right of the signpost photo)

 

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As we leave the golf course behind and the path levels off, we arrive at more evidence of a great past industry

In 1640, alum was discovered here in the hillside - two large quarries were created
and the Peak Alum Works began production - they flourished for a further 250 years

 

The ruined remains are free to visit - excellent illustrated information plaques describe the history of the place

 

A bit further on and we get a good idea of how badly the cliffs are being eroded on this part of the Yorkshire coast

 

Further on still, we arrive at the site of a World War II coastal defence bunker . . .

 

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. . . on going inside, I realised how frightening it must have been for those who bravely manned it

Each time I come here, it appears to be getting nearer to the cliff-edge - soon it will fall into the North Sea

 

The houses of picturesque Robin Hood's Bay ('Bay Town' to locals) tumble down the hillside to the edge of the sea
- by now the 'sea fret' had come right in over the the cliff-tops leaving us damp to say the least

 

A typical scene in Bay Town - sandstone and white-washed walls and red pantile roofs

 

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It's worth spending an hour or two exploring the flower-lined, narrow cobbled streets of the town

 

A last look back across the bay - the cliffs at Ravenscar are barely visible through the 'fret'


location map



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