AN ARTIST in residence has been appointed as part of plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of Britain’s best-loved long distance national trails in 2019.

The 109-mile Cleveland Way, which runs across the North York Moors National Park, is 50 years old on May 24.

Landscape artist Debbie Loane, from Easingwold, has been appointed as the trail’s artist in residence and is now preparing a major exhibition of her work, entitled 109 Miles that will take place from May 11 to June 9 at the National Park’s Inspired by… gallery in Danby to coincide with the anniversary.

The exhibition will be based on Debbie’s interpretation of six very distinct stretches of the Cleveland Way trail which have been chosen to reflect the diverse landscape along the route.

The locations include the tree-lined route above Rievaulx Abbey, the sweeping escarpment of Sutton Bank and the urban townscape of Scarborough.

In 2016, Debbie, who runs the Lund Gallery in Easingwold, was one of two artists who retraced the steps of artist JMW Turner across Yorkshire to produce an exhibition at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes marking the bi-centenary of his work.

Other plans to celebrate the Cleveland Way’s 50th anniversary will reflect the diversity of the landscape, variety of features and the broad range of activities along the trail that make it so special. Plans include:

  • the publication of a booklet in the new year listing the general public’s suggestions for the 50 best things to do on the Cleveland Way;
  • the creation of a new film about the trail;
  • a special 50-mile ultramarathon trail running event on March 16 organised by the Hardmoors Ultra Series;
  • the Inspired by… gallery’s 109 Miles exhibition;
  • a special event on the actual anniversary on May 24 that will see walkers wearing 1960s hiking gear striding out from Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey;
  • two of the annual walking festivals dedicated to the Cleveland Way - the National Park’s WalkFest (May 25-27) and the Redcar & Cleveland Walking Festival (June 15-23);
  • a 5k family run on the Cleveland Way on June 16;
  • events aimed at schools and group visits;
  • fundraising for the official charities - Scarborough & Ryedale and Cleveland Mountain Rescue Teams.

Malcolm Hodgson, Cleveland Way National Trails Officer, said: “When the trail first opened it was mainly popular with hikers, but now runners, families and artists are just as likely to enjoy sections of the route as well as those with particular interests such as bird watching or fossil hunting.

“It’s also the sheer diversity of the landscape and terrain that makes the Cleveland Way special - whether you’re after a quiet sandy cove, beautiful heather moorland or dramatic scenery such as Sutton Bank’s escarpment from which author and vet James Herriot declared the view to be the ‘finest in England’.”