In the ’90s before I ever heard of National Trails I cycled from Harwich to Newcastle. In Withby I had a day of rest and decided to walk to Robin Hood’s Bay and back. Little did I know that it was the Cleveland Way. But many years later I still remember that walk on a bright sunny day! Great landscape and a pittoresque village, lovely beach with fossil hunters and a bull that was luckily more interested in the cows than in walkers. I would love to come back and walk the rest of the trail!
The Cleveland Way starts in Helmsley and ends in Filey. Ofcourse you can also walk the trail the other way round but keep in mind that you will have the most chance of head-wind that way! Most of the guidebooks are written in the clockwise walking direction because of this reason.
In total the trail is 175 kilometers long and was officially opened in May 1969 and they say you can do the walk in 9 days. When you walk the trail in late August of September you will see the moorland heather in bloom. The trail also follows of a stunning coastline. You pass lovely places like Withby, a seaside town and Robin Hood’s Bay. An English ballad and legend tell a story of Robin Hoods encountering French pirates who came to pillage the fisherman’s boats and the northeast coast. The pirates surrendered and Robin Hood returned the loot to the poor people of the village. But nobody knows if this is the true story. When lucky you can find a fossil here! There are a great number of historical places too along the Cleveland Way like Helmsley Castle, Rievaulx Abbey, Mount Grace Priory and Scarborough Castle.
There is not a particular best time of the year to walk the trail, you can walk it all year round. It’s easy to walk but some parts along the coastal area can be challenging.
How to get there?
Well, there are several ways to get there!
By train you can get to York, Malton, Thirsk, Middlesbrough, Great Ayton, Withby, Scarborough and Filey. And the bus can get you to the start at Helmsley from York, Malton or Scarborough.
When you come from outside England and arrive by boat in Hull with North Sea Ferries you can catch a bus from King George Dock to the Paragon Interchange. From this place you can pick up train, bus or coach services. Catch the train to Scarborough and finally take the 128 bus from Scraborough to Helmsley.
At the end of the Cleveland Way you can catch either a bus or train directly from Filey back to Hull.
If you fly to Leeds Bradford, Manchester or Newcastle Airport then you can best pick the train to York and finally the daily bus through to Helmsley.
If you come by car, keep in mind that for some parking places they charge you money to park your car there. If you leave your car in a public place while your are walking for several days at the trail, please inform the local police of your intentions.
You are not allowed to go wild camping in England but there are a variety of campsites:
YHA Helmsley Telephone 0044 (0)1439 770433 – www.yha.org.uk/hostel/helmsley
Golden Square Caravan & Camping Park – Oswaldkirk, Nr. Helmsley Telephone 0044 (0)1439 788269 – www.goldensquarecaravanpark.com
Bungdale Head Farm Caravan & Camping Site – Scawton, Thirsk Telephone 0044 (0)1439 770589 – www.bungdaleheadcamping.co.uk
High Paradise Farm Camping – Boltby, Thirsk Telephone 0044 (0)1845 537353 – www.highparadise.co.uk
Cote Ghyll Caravan & Camping Park Telephone 0044 (0)1609 883425 – www.coteghyll.com
Lord Stones Country Park Telephone 0044 (0)1642 778482 – www.lordstones.com
Park Farm Kildale Camping Barn, Byre and Campsite Telephone 0044 (0)1642 722847 – www.kildalebarn.co.uk
Margrove Park Caravan Site Telephone 0044 (0)1287 653616 – www.margroveparkholidays.co.uk
Serenity Caravan & Camping Park Telephone 0044 (0)1947 841122 – www.serenitycamping.co.uk
Lythe Caravan, Camping and Pods Telephone 0044 (0)1947 893300 – www.lythecc.co.uk
High Straggleton Farm – Withy Telephone 0044 (0)1947 602373 – www.highstraggleton.co.uk
Broadings Farm – Withy Telephone 0044 (0)1947 601542 – www.broadingsfarm.co.uk
Manor House Farm Touring Park – Withy Telephone 0044 (0)1947 603107 – www.mhfcottages.co.uk
Hooks House Farm – Robin Hood’s Bay Telephone 0044 (0)1947 880283 – www.hookshousefarm.co.uk
Middlewood Farm Holiday Park – Robin Hood’s Bay Telephone 0044 (0)1947 880414 – www.middlewoodfarm.com
Bent Rigg Farm – Scarborough Telephone 0044 (0)1723 870475
Scalby Close Park – Scarborough Telephone 0044 (0)1723 365908 – www.scalbyclosepark.co.uk
Scalby Manor Touring Caravans & Camping Park – Scarborough Telephone 0044 (0)1723 366212
Crows Nest Caravan Park – Filey Telephone 0044 (0)1723 582206 – www.crowsnestcaravanpark.com
Filey Brigg Touring Caravan Park – Filey Telephone 0044 (0)1723 513852 – www.fileybriggcaravanpark.com
To be continued….