GEORGE WILKINSON discovers a top spot on 300ft-high cliffs.

Cloughton is ordinary, the extraordinary is just down the coast road at Scarborough, but it did have a moment in 2009 when the Queen’s Duchy of Lancaster Estate suggested that it was a ‘village in decline’ and kindly offered to build 160 houses, so sparking a ‘residents revolt’. The little dead-end back lanes we walked run between fields and lead to the sea, not houses.

Just as nice was the track bed of the 1885-1965 Scarborough & Whitby Railway that runs deep in a cutting, colourful with fireweed and foxglove, and would be cool on a hot summer’s day, but the track was bouncing with rain, from one bridge to the next.

And the day remained hazy, just clearing a little by the time we reached the coast, a pity as this is a top spot; the cliffs drop 300 feet, near and vertical. A bench carries a plate reading ‘In Memory of Ann M. Hazell President of Scarborough Rambling Club 1978-1993.’

From the bench the view, 5 miles as the gull flies, is to Scarborough Castle, a block on its headland. Ships seemed immobile and then vanished. The cliffs are anything but stable, chunks slide down now and then and Scarborough Council policy, its ‘preferred costal defence option’, is a sensible ‘Do Nothing’.

We met a few doing the Cleveland Way it starts or finishes at Filey ten miles down the coast. We didn’t stride on, you just can’t, it’s gorgeous, you have to stop and gaze. Anyone will be slowed right down at a wood; by steep stone steps that look worse than they are because, being irregular, they are ergonomic.

After the woods the cliffs are not so high and sweep round to shape the bay of Cloughton Wyke. The tide was retreating; a path leads down to a beach, though not of soft sand, but of packed and smoothed boulders many the size of fit balls and slippy green. So there was no paddling.

Gulls occupied shelves of sandstone. When I was a lad, when the sea was full of big fish, I used to wonder why these birds flew inland to feed on vile municipal rubbish heaps. Now, I guess, it is a vital skill.

Salt Pan Road ends at a little carpark at Cloughton Wyke, but please don’t park here, the lane is very narrow and congestion would be unfortunate. Anyway it’s a lovely lane to walk and we met a cheerful local couple who had been doing the circuit for fifty years.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed. (wm=waymark, fp=fingerpost).

1. From red telephone box, along A171 to junction, narrow road to right (‘Newlands Lane leading to Court Green Close’).

2. At railway bridge, steps or hundred yard path on left down to disused railway line.

3. Fifty yards before next bridge, path on right down, right to road.

At house, track on left, uphill.

4. Right at bench to cliff side path (Cleveland Way), TAKE CARE STEEP DROPS. Steps down into wood.

5. Left to stone steps and path down to shore. Return and straight on up, road back to Cloughton.

Fact File

Distance: Three miles.

Car Parking: Roadside in Cloughton.

Right of Way: Public paths.

Date walked: July 2014.

Tourist information: Scarborough TIC 01723 383636.

Refreshments: Cloughton.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors eastern.

Terrain: Cliff tops and hinterland.

Difficulty: Steep steps.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.