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Travel North - 15: Coastal Walk, Saltburn Gill to the Clifftops And Back Around Skinningrove and Huntcliff

Updated on June 13, 2019

From the low-lying hamlet of Old Saltburn

Inshore fishing vessels on Saltburn seafront looking towards Huntcliffe past Old Saltburn (the Ship Inn is the nearesr building with the white end wall
Inshore fishing vessels on Saltburn seafront looking towards Huntcliffe past Old Saltburn (the Ship Inn is the nearesr building with the white end wall | Source

Saltburn was an old fishing hamlet - with older smuggling connections - until Henry Pease of Stockton & Darlington fame laid out his Victorian dormitory town on

Saltburn's history evolved around fishing and - due to its relative isolation on the coast - smuggling. The lie of the land helped the smugglers for a long time until their operations were curtailed by the revenue men, backed up by the Redcoats, although the easing of taxes after the Napoleonic Wars contributed to the demise of the illicit trade. The walk in hand is strenuous, but by no means too strenuous for your average family with a range of children between the ages of about ten and fifteen.

The walk will blow the cobwebs out of your soul and invigorate you, and there are refreshment stops along the way. As a route the walk is ideal for serious walkers if they wish to take in the whole length without breaks. There are great views of the sea and countryside, starting and ending in Old Saltburn's large car park near Cat Nab. Walking distance is eight miles (13km), the going moderate at most times of the year, fairly well-drained and can take around four hours - not exactly a 'route march'.

Beginning at the car park cross the road and pass the waterworks on your left before coming to a footbridge. A sign points into Saltburn Gill Nature Reserve. After crossing the stile you follow a path that brings you high above the Gill. Steps lead to two more stiles about 170 yards (50m) apart and a footbridge leads to a pathway close to Saltburn Gill.

Follow straight ahead towards the houses on the western side of Brotton. Where the track takes you on to the A174 Whitby road turn left up the hill and pass under a railway bridge. The High Street is ahead with its Methodist church on the left. Take the steps up on the right opposite No.42 and follow the path under overhanging trees to playing fields. Keep left walk straight on through a cemetery to Kilton Lane. Cross over and turn right, then left onto Winchester Road. Follow this road to the junction with Canterbury Road and follow a walkway on the left as far as a Guibal Fan House (a large concrete structure that housed a mine ventilation fan). Cross a road and follow the track that leads gently downhill past Griggs Farm. Veer left around the edge of a golf course and cross the stile, on to a path close to the fence on the left. Bear left and over another stile. At the next stile a notice points to Cattersty Gill Nature Reserve. Head toward another stile.

Bear left away from Skinningrove along Cattersty Cliff and pass another Guibal Fan house as far as some metal sculptures. Here you follow signs for the Cleveland Way with its far-ranging views including Roseberry Topping in the distance to the south-west. The clifftop path leads toward a further stile, past which make your way down a few steps. Follow the road around to the left to reach the starting point at Cat Nab Car Park.

To get there from the south: a) take the A19 north from York/Thirsk/Northallerton; b) take the A1(M) to Scotch Corner and then the A66 east past Middlesbrough, follow signs for Redcar then Saltburn; c) take the A174 north from Whitby.

Parking: Cat Nab Car Park is on the lower promenade at Saltburn-by-the-Sea across the road from a seaside cafe and children's amusement centre. Nearby is Marske-by-the-Sea to the west with Redcar beyond. Southward is North Skelton and Brotton is up the winding gradient road to the south-east. Back at the car park cross the road to the cafe and children's amusements and turn right to the Ship Inn public house with its outside tables for a first class view eastward to Huntcliff and north-westward to Teesmouth beyond Marske-by-the-Sea, Redcar, Coatham and Warrenby.

James Cook Senior was buried in the graveyard of St Germain's Church at nearby Marske-by-the-Sea in 1772. On the road to New Marske is Marske Hall, lately a Leonard Cheshire Home just away from Marske's busy High Street. On the sea front is Cliff House, built as a hotel but more recently became a home for the elderly. There are several public houses and inns around Marske, including another Ship Inn where I stayed with my wife in 1984.

Saltburn Miniature Railway 01642 502863;

Heritage Centre Cleveland Ironstone (Tom Leonard) 01287 642877;

Ship Inn, Old Saltburn 01287 622361;

Green Tree, Brotton 01287 676377;


Public Toilets at Cat Nab Car Park close to the Brotton road;

Public Transport, phone: 0870 608 2608

Riftswood there is another pleasant walk with Italian gardens along its northern slopes. A presentable cafe serves refreshments for those of a less athletic persuasion. A miniature railway operates along the valley bottom from the mouth of the ravine to the Italian gardens in the summer season for smaller children - even for older 'children'.

Saltburn-by-the-Sea, East Cleveland, Yorkshire

A
Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Yorkshire:
Saltburn-by-the-Sea, UK

get directions

Starting point of a circular walk via Brotton and Skinningrove back to Old Saltburn

Spend a while around the pier and cliff lift, take a ride up and down

Saltburn pier, 1869 at low tide. At one stage there was a dance floor at the end and a band to play for dancers
Saltburn pier, 1869 at low tide. At one stage there was a dance floor at the end and a band to play for dancers | Source
Saltburn cliff lift and pier as it is now at about half its original length - winter scene (don't do the walk in this sort of weather)
Saltburn cliff lift and pier as it is now at about half its original length - winter scene (don't do the walk in this sort of weather) | Source
'Under the boardwalk, down by the sea...'  When the tide's out naturally - shiver me timbers!.
'Under the boardwalk, down by the sea...' When the tide's out naturally - shiver me timbers!. | Source
Seen from the north (Marske) side, Saltburn pier hardly reaches to the tide mark when it's at its lowest ebb
Seen from the north (Marske) side, Saltburn pier hardly reaches to the tide mark when it's at its lowest ebb | Source
See description below
See description below | Source

Take time out to follow David Brandon along the Yorkshire coast between the mouth of the Tees and Humber, stop off at little known villages such as Skinningrove, Runswick and Sandsend as well as the better known Whitby, Scarborough, Filey and Bridlington. High cliffs with rolling hills and moors behind, or low-lying Teesside near Middlesbrough in the north and Withernsea or Hornsey in the east near Hull. Each area has its own character.

Around Skinningrove

Skinningrove village seen from the old jetty trackbed, with the much rationalised, almost phased out steel works on the plateau behind
Skinningrove village seen from the old jetty trackbed, with the much rationalised, almost phased out steel works on the plateau behind | Source
Skinningrove Jetty, once a loading point for locally mined ironstone, now a mecca for sea anglers - the name of the village stems from the Old Norse 'Shining Grove', a place of pagan worship
Skinningrove Jetty, once a loading point for locally mined ironstone, now a mecca for sea anglers - the name of the village stems from the Old Norse 'Shining Grove', a place of pagan worship | Source
Skinningrove Station was on a spur off the Saltburn-Whitby line - an early casualty of pre-Beeching rationalisation
Skinningrove Station was on a spur off the Saltburn-Whitby line - an early casualty of pre-Beeching rationalisation | Source
Skinningrove and works in more prosperous times, up until the 1960s. The nearby village of Carlin Howe, across the A174 Whitby road housed many of the workforce for Skinningrove works and nearby ironstone mines
Skinningrove and works in more prosperous times, up until the 1960s. The nearby village of Carlin Howe, across the A174 Whitby road housed many of the workforce for Skinningrove works and nearby ironstone mines | Source
Aerial view of Skinningrove Works in its heyday. A network of railway sidings sprawled around its western side on the man-made plateau
Aerial view of Skinningrove Works in its heyday. A network of railway sidings sprawled around its western side on the man-made plateau | Source
Looking down into the village from the Boulby clifftop footpath. This is another fine walk you might like to tackle - another time, along the Cleveland Way.
Looking down into the village from the Boulby clifftop footpath. This is another fine walk you might like to tackle - another time, along the Cleveland Way. | Source

© 2012 Alan R Lancaster

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    • alancaster149 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alan R Lancaster 

      7 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello, hello! There are enough 'wykes' (comes from Norse 'vik'= inlet) along the Yorkshire coast to inspire smuggling stories like the ones Daphne dy Maurier wrote about the South-west. The only advantage Devon and Cornwall had over Yorkshire was that both counties had two coasts. Ours goes from the Humber to the Tees, but we had some strong tides as well that might have put some off! However, the advantage was we faced the Low Countries where a lot of 'goodies' came from. A lot of the smuggling gangs were led by well-connected outsiders, too.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, even though I am from here too, I have never been up that far, and it looks so beautiful. I love the long walks like this, with all the great sights and view. I especially love discovering anything to do with smugglers as they fascinate me. I remember going to hastings and seeing the caves there, and of course Cornwall and Devon, I really must get on the train and head that way this summer, great review of a lovely place, nell

    • alancaster149 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alan R Lancaster 

      7 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Thanks Matt(digiulio). One day maybe you'll be able to tear yourself away from your busy metropolitan schedule, 'an' put one foot in front o' t'other across our Li'l Island on this side o' t'Pond!' There's enough territory to cover yet (this is No.15 in the 'TRAVEL NORTH' series), so you'll see more of me yet.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 

      7 years ago

      Alan, this is lovely! Thanks for sharing. Matt

    • alancaster149 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alan R Lancaster 

      7 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Thanks Brian. There's a brochure available from the Northumbria Tourist Office titled: 'Walk Britain's Undiscovered Landscapes, an introduction to some of North East England's amazing walks'. See their website at www.visitnorthumbria.com/walking. There are twelve walks between North Yorkshire and the Borders, starting at Roseberry Topping near Great Ayton and finishing at Hethas Hike near Wooler

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 

      7 years ago from England

      Fabulous hub-although I'm from the uk and know the Whitby area I don't know this particular area. As a keen walker I would love to do this walk any day of the week. You have shown us some very good photo's which enhance your article-well done voted up.

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