20170329_Boggle Hole – Ravenscar – Fylingdales Moor Circular Walk
Post #1 of 5 …. Boggle Hole to Ravenscar.
When : 29 March 2017
Who : Just Me
Where : North Yorkshire Moors and Coast
Start and End Point : NZ954,038
Distance : Approx 16.5 miles (26.5 km)
Significant heights : See end of post #5 for approx. figures
Whole Walk Summary : A stretch of coast path, a lot of wide open moorland, and a final section of farmland. This was the longest day-walk I’d done for many a long year. Starting and finishing at Boggle Hole, along the coast and up to Ravenscar (Cleveland Way), west skirting Jugger Howe Moor and across Fylingdales Moor, north past Newton House Plantation (forest) and then eastwards through farmland back to Boggle Hole.
Map : 1:25,000 Outdoor Leisure Map No.27 … North York Moors Eastern Area.
[My map is pretty much an ancient relic, probably a slight over statement, but it did only cost me £2.95 which gives an idea of its vintage. I’ve no idea how old it actually is, but essentially the moors don’t change much and despite it being in a slightly dilapidated state (slowly falling apart at the folds) it did me fine for my trip. Next time however, I think a new map may well be on the cards, and won’t need Sellotape to hold it together].
If you click on a pic’, it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on Flickr … a right click should give you the option of launching in a separate window/page.
I was staying at Boggle Hole Youth Hostel, but rather than start at the hostel’s front door, I’ll start my description from the small car park just up the road (and up hill) from the hostel so making it more like someone just parking up for the day. The car park itself was free, with an honesty box for donations towards its up-keep, but of course, I suppose this could well change in the future. For your info’ the car park is situated at the end of Bridge Holm Road.
As I was planning a long walk, and was staying at the hostel overnight, I should have been able to get an early start, but, due to needing to transfer my kit to a different dorm’ after everyone had vacated / staff had cleaned it, I didn’t get away until about 10:30-ish, which was a tad on the late side really. Anyway, from the car park, the route is north-easterly down a minor road (Mill Bank) which drops steeply towards the coast. DO NOT drive down here, there is no turning point! with only access to the youth hostel and that only at low tide via the beach and only for service vehicles after they’ve crossed the beach and forded the stream. There is a bit of a dog-leg in the road and the coast can’t actually be seen, as you drop quite quickly, but a view over Mill Beck Valley opens up through the trees, over the small river and then to the hostel, set down in the steep sided valley, just above the high tide line. Mill Bank road peters out, tarmac giving way to large stone sets, as the road becomes a slip way either down onto the beach, or directly into the sea if the tide is in.
This morning, I was lucky enough to find the tide out, allowing me to head out onto Boggle Hole’s beach. The beach is a combination of sand, boulders, and areas of flat rock forming a series of large arcs heading out into the bay (Robin Hood’s Bay). From my school lessons of so many years ago, these flat rocky areas are known in geographic terms as a “wave cut platform” and are the remains of where the cliffs here have been eroded back into the land. This process is still ongoing, the current cliffs are somewhat unstable, with places where the sea is undermining the cliffs at the base, creating an eventual slump, and higher up large cracks appear and large chunks of land just fall off.
Near to Boggle Hole there is a sizeable cave cut back into cliff – This is The Boggle’s Hole giving the place its name. Rather than go into detail about what or who the Boggle is, please see my earlier post explaining the legend of the Boggle.
I mentioned earlier that I had started the walk a little late, and this was further compounded by me spending far too long taking photo’s down on the beach. Why so long taking pic’s?, Well, with home being in the landlocked midlands, I live about as far away from the coast as you can get, so the normal opportunity for seascapes, beach and cliff scenes, and the like, doesn’t come around too often and the quality of light is different as well; so I just clicked away trying to get arty pic’s of the wave cut platforms, cliffs, boulders, north up the coast to Robin Hood’s Bay village, and south over Stoupe Beck Sands and on towards the Ravenscar promontory. All this was despite the day being overcast, light rain in the air making it decidedly gloomy, not exactly enhancing the views here.
My ill-discipline timewise effectively put my start time back even later, but hey, I was enjoying myself and I had all day ahead of me, with only daylight hours to restrict my finishing time. Anyway, my route was southwards, along the beach, keeping a good safe distance away from the cliffs (in case of landslides/falling rocks) as far as Stoupe Beck Sands, which is marked by a small stream (unsurprisingly called Stoupe Beck) emerging from a wooded valley directly onto the beach here. There is a small footbridge crossing the stream accommodating The Cleveland Way coast path, and in times of heavier flow may be the only way across the small river as it spreads out over the beach. Today however, the stream was low enough to allow me to just walk across effectively fording the water to reach the far side, where I then headed up to the bridge ready to leave the beach, not to return for the rest of the day.
It is worth mentioning, that when the tide is in, the beach route would be impossible, but there is an alternative, with a path following the coast above the cliffs accessed very close to Boggle Hole Youth Hostel and emerging at the footbridge across Stoupe Beck. There are some large wooden posts driven into the ground here, protecting the bank from erosion, and someone had placed a few pebbles atop the stakes. I then decided to play a little, balancing pebble on top of pebble to create a mini column of stones – a small piece of precariously balanced artwork, albeit almost certainly very short lived. Amazingly, it was still standing as I headed up a short sharp climb away from the beach on a wide path, budding trees and pretty primroses bordering the way – always a happy spring sight.
I was now on The Cleveland Way and it soon brought me to a small car-park next to Stoupe Bank Farm. This is a private car-park with a £1.00 charge and an honesty box for payment – Quite old fashioned in our rip-off Britain 21st century way of life. It would be interesting to know if anyone actually makes a payment, or indeed if anyone ever makes the effort to even drive and park here at the dead end of an extremely minor road. I’d like to tell you the name of the road, but all I can find is a local government web site describing the road, rather than naming it …. It says “Street” = “Stoupe Brow To Stoupe Bank Farm” and the farm at the end of the road has a post code of “YO13 0NQ” so if your planning on parking here, at least you can try to put something in your Satnav, but please confirm this for yourself just in case I’ve got my facts mixed up!
Getting back to the route, my [old] map shows the cliff path immediately starts near the car park, but this is no longer the case, I guess that since the map was printed, the cliff-path has subsequently fallen into the sea below. So, a little road walking was now required, but not too much of a hardship as it rose gently, soon making a little dog-leg to skirt Stoupe Brow Cottage Farm. A cluster of daffodils added a nice splash of colour in front of a low stone wall (as happy as the earlier primroses). On the other side of the wall, in the garden, I could see a small stone circle; it is not marked on my map, nor are any other sites of antiquities very close by, so I suppose it is probably a modern incarnation as a spot of garden landscaping.
After the left-hand of the dog leg, the road bends to the right and it was here I left the road. Taking a foot path off to the left heading towards the cliff top but not before saying hello to a friendly horse. I was still on The Cleveland Way (and would be for some way) and I soon came upon the next landmark of note; a substantial concrete pill box pointing out over the bay. This isn’t marked on my map either, so I figure it was probably built in WW2 to protect against invasion from the North Sea. Rather than Nazis hoards, it appears that the sea itself will eventually destroy the bunker as the cliffs (called Peter White Cliffs) erode away beneath it. A good proportion of the structure is now cantilevered out supported by nothing more than sea air. The views out over the bay are superb, and as the tide was out, the arcs of wave-cut platform were very visible, in fact much easier to see than when stood on the rocks themselves.
Pressing on, my map again showed its age, with it showing The Cleveland Way cutting diagonally inland rising over a number of fields towards Ravenscar; this option is still available (a finger post showing the way), however The Way now sticks closer to the cliff tops for a little longer, which rewarded me with a thicket of blackthorn (sloe) coming into flower, the slightly off-white flowers blooming in advance of the similar Hawthorn/May Flower by quite some weeks. After a little while the path did turn away from the cliff tops, heading inland. But yet again, there was another recent change to the route of The Cleveland Way, a finger post clearly showing The Way turning off to the left, towards the nearby Alum Works site, in the care of The National Trust.
Not wishing to miss the opportunity to see the industrial heritage ruins, this is the route I followed, crossing a grassy field to drop down into a sizeable gully/small valley where the stream/boggy ground was crossed by a wooden board-walk. The wet scruffy, scrubby area was populated with the dried tops of last year’s horse tails looking rather pre-historic; my imagination just wanted a few scaled down dinosaurs to appear in the tangle of vegetation. However, it was very quickly apparent that I wasn’t going to see any mini diplodocus’, tiny stegosaurs, diminutive-T-Rex’ or even a teeny-weeny triceratops, so I crossed the boardwalk, ascended the bank at the far end, and emerged into Ravenscar Alum Works. I’ll not say too much about the site here as I’ll will write a separate post about it later, but suffice to say it was interesting walking through here, reading the info boards and talking with a NT site manager for quite some time as a small team of people were strimming/tidying around the ruined buildings etc.
One thing I will pass on though; the gent’ told me that The National Trust had some years ago considered buying Stoupe Bank Farm (near the dead-end car park) as a local management centre, but in the end declined the opportunity because of the rate that the cliffs were/are receding back inland.
Anyway, I made my way to the south-easterly corner of the Alum Works site, picked up a path rising away from the coast and then turned left, joining a much larger track heading towards some golf links up ahead. However, before reaching the links, I branched off to the right, leaving the main track onto a path (quite sizeable in its own right) staying on The Cleveland Way. This path rose quite steadily, with some great views looking back over Robin Hood’s Bay, which were lost somewhat, as the way swung around to the left entering a more wooded area; instead of wide sweeping views, bracket fungi and pussy willow catching the eye as I continued to climb.
The path here runs parallel to and just below the route of the old coast railway, now disused as a means of transport, but open as a permissive right of way for walkers and cyclists. The path/track continues to rise, emerging into Ravenscar village, right next to The National Trust Visitor Centre.
I’d worked quite hard on the climb up from the Alum Works and I took the opportunity to go into the visitor centre, work out how to use their self-serve coffee machine and find a bench on the green opposite to grab a bite to eat from my packed lunch. My legs were quite happy to have a little rest, at least just for a short time.
This seems a good point to stop this first post, I’ve probably written too much anyway considering I’d only walked about 3-miles, but it had been packed with interest. Also, if you want to head back to Boggle hole from here, you can do so, by joining and following the old railway and then dropping back to Boggle Hole via Bridge Holm Lane to complete a much shorter circular walk.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my scribblings so far …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.
My follow-on posts are :-
- Post-2 Info about Peak Alum Works ;
- Post-3 Ravenscar to Stony Leas on Fylingdales Moor ;
- Post-4 Info about wildlife on the moor
- and Post-5 Stony Leas to Boggle Hole.