The Cleveland Way; Walking to the Seaside!

I’ve been putting off writing this post as I knew it would take a while to write, my walking posts are usually about a one day walk, this time we walked for nine days so I’m going to split it into two posts! I have an evening free, so here we go!! Warning, it’s long and there’s lots of photos, so get a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable and lets get walking…

The Cleveland Way runs for 108 miles around the North York Moors National Park. It starts in the middle in the market town of Helmsley, goes round and up to the coast at Saltburn then all the way along the coast to Filey. I didn’t realise it’s one of the oldest long distance routes here in the UK, there were 50th anniversary walks a month before we did it.

My friend and I walk one of these long distance paths each year, 108 miles was a bit too far for us in one go (and in the annual leave available) so we decided to do the first 80 miles, Helmsley to Whitby, aiming to complete it before the end of the year.

Helmsley is a lovely town, a typical picturesque estate town, as Duncombe Park is next to it. Reasonably priced B&B for one night at the weekend is pretty near impossible to find, so we decided to stay for two nights at Kilburn instead, the end of the first stage and having got up there early, we decided to split the first stage over two days anyway, an easy start to the walk!

Cleveland Way

As we left Helmsley and gained a bit of height, there were good views over to the 11th century Helmsley Castle.

We detoured to Rievaulx (pronounced Reevow, rhyming with low!!) This is one of the Cistercian abbeys, founded in 1132, just the ruins remain since the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1538. It always amazes me when I see these old medieval buildings, beautifully built by hand and still standing!

Rievaulx Abbey

From Rievaulx the path gently rises through a couple of villages, woods and fields until it reaches the top of Sutton Bank, this is a well known view point as you can imagine. On a clear day you can see right across to the dales.

View from Sutton Bank

Our B&B was in Kilburn, just under the escarpment. The village is famous for the Mouseman of Kilburn, a master craftsman whose furniture can be found in many churches and big houses, recognisable by a little carved mouse he included on every piece. It’s also famous for it’s white horse, we can just see this (as a white splodge!) from Otley 40 miles away on a clear day. It’s not some ancient fertility symbol, it was actually created by the local schoolmaster in 1857!!

Kilburn White Horse

We got a taxi back up to the top of Sutton Bank the next morning as we had 11.5 miles to walk anyway. We followed the line of the escarpment with all the big views for quite a few miles until we descended through woods into the village of Osmotherley. The next morning we could look back and see the ridge we’d walked along.


The next day we were back up on the escarpment and we could just see Roseberry Topping in the distance, an iconic little hill a couple of days walking ahead, a little blip on the horizon!!

As you can see the paths were pretty good for most of the walk, a bit hard underfoot in places but well signposted and well maintained.

I like walks when you can look back and see how far you’ve walked, Osmotherley was down in the valley at the base of the far hill.

We spent the night in a farmhouse on the top of the moors, a great place to stay, comfortable and very friendly. There were a couple of young girls staying too and we were called down for dinner at 7pm to find a table groaning with a the trimmings of a full roast dinner. Then the farmers wife came in with the biggest roast chicken I’ve ever seen – I think it had aspirations to be a turkey!! After a homemade pudding and a bottle of wine, we were very well fed for £10!

We woke up the next morning to find the mist had come down. We could barely see 30′ in front of us at times, so we were very glad it was such a clear path.

After about an hour of walking through mist we had that magical experience when mist starts to lift, rolls around and then suddenly reveals the views around.

This was our longest days walk, we hoped it would be 15 miles, in turned out to be over 17 miles, a long way for us, so we were glad when the mist lifted and we could see more clearly.

Across the moors there’s quite a lot of these old boundary stones and standing stones, a reminder of the ancient routes across these moors.

As we descended from the escarpment, ready to climb up the next one we could see the ridge we’d spent the last couple of days walking along. The dip on the left is where our farmhouse B&B was the night before.

Our last ascent of the day was up to the Captain Cook memorial. There’s great views from here and we sat and watched hang-gliders setting off on the thermals. We could see Roseberry Topping quite clearly now but that would wait until the next morning. We were staying at the Royal Oak in Great Ayton, a lovely place, they even came and collected us from the end of the walk and took us back the next morning.

Roseberry Topping might only be little but it’s pretty steep, not easy to climb when you have no balance! So there’s no photos going up or down! You can see the path zig-zagging up.

The views from the top were worth the climb, again we could see the ridge we’d just spent a couple of days walking along…

…and the view forward…we can just see the sea!

Once we’d recovered from the detour up Roseberry Topping it was fairly easy walking along the moors and down towards the sea.

I think the coastal walk will have to wait until tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed it so far!

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
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23 Responses to The Cleveland Way; Walking to the Seaside!

  1. katechiconi says:

    What a lovely big helping of gorgeous scenery!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My, you have got happy walking feet! Thanks for the look over your shoulder

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KerryCan says:

    This is so cool! I yearn to take a walk like this . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely love your written accounts and photos of your walks. My heart goes pitty patter when I see all of this gorgeous scenery with your commentary. I almost feel I am along with you. It sounds like you were quite lucky with the hosts of the places where you stayed this time. Good food to fuel you through this walk. The Abbey is amazing.Nothing as old as this in the States. Truly a national treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for taking me along on your walking journey. Gorgeous photo’s ~ Sharon

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laura says:

    I’ve said it before…how I wish I could walk with you, Margaret! I am so glad that you share your experiences! I can only see your part of the world through your eyes, and it is beautiful! What kind of animals do you see on the moors?

    Liked by 1 person

    • craftycreeky says:

      Thanks Laura, it is a lovely part of the world. We occasionally see deer, red squirrels, lots of birds, the other day a slow worm slithered between us as we walked along – I was well miffed as it was behind me so I didn’t see it, just heard the shriek from my friend!!


  7. suth2 says:

    What a wonderful walk. I would love to do this. We like the Yorkshire area so on our next trip perhaps we will be able to fit in a walk like this one. Your photos are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jocelyn Thurston says:

    A most wonderful post and what a fabulous venture. Lovely sights and good eating too! Do you train for these events as it seems like quite a lot of walking in one go? Meanwhile your nest couldn’t be more beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kathyreeves says:

    Loved this Margaret, looking forward to the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a fabulous account – I felt that I was your walking companion. Lovely photos as well. I’ve walked from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay and back again in one day-exhausting – and I think you join the Cleveland Way a little way out from Robin Hood’s Bay. Is that correct? Can’t wait for your next part.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. wybrow1966 says:

    I love your walks and maybe one day when I am working no longer I will be able to follow in your footsteps. The abbey looks wonderful and I am curious as to why a school teacher might create the large chalk horse!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. anne54 says:

    I am so impressed by how far you walk! I would have given up after the first day. So I am loving coming along with you, enjoying the beautiful scenery without having to make any effort!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. nanacathy2 says:

    A beautiful walk in my part of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ann Creek says:

    You realise how lucky you are to have a walking partner to do these lovely walks. Have always been envious of you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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