20170331_A short Robin Hoods Bay walk on the beach
Along the Beach from Boggle Hole to Robin Hoods Bay Village and Back Again
Significant heights : Nothing to speak of … except the paths around Robin Hoods Bay village streets, which are quite steep, but you don’t have to go exploring if you don’t want to.
Took most of the day to walk about 3-miles, wandering back and forth trying to take arty pics of rocks and cliffs, including a wander around the village itself.
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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 steeply up hill) from the hostel so making it more like someone just parking up for the day. In reality, it’s also quite accurate from the “walk’s point of view”, ‘cause as it was my last day of my short break, I had to transport all my gear from the youth hostel up to the car park and load the boot up with my bags etc.
The car park itself is 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.
So, I stuck all my gear in the boot of the car, raised ruck sack onto my back (very lightly packed as it was to be an easy short day) and slung my camera bag over a shoulder which actually weighed more than my rucksack. Once set, I headed back down the steep hill towards Boggle Hole Youth Hostel. By the way, please heed the warning signs and DO NOT drive down here thinking it’ll save a bit of a walk down to the beach. The road drops straight down to the beach area, just becoming a cobbled slipway at the bottom, and gets covered when the tide is in. The only motor-powered access is for the youth hostel service vehicles only, and they can only get right up to the hostel when the tide is out and when the stream isn’t too full.
Once I’d made my way back down the tarmac to the youth hostel and then the cobbled slipway had been negotiated once again, I headed out onto the beach area, with the sole purpose of wandering around trying to find interesting photo-opportunities, which I figured wouldn’t be too difficult as I think this is a really interesting section of coast here.
Boggle Hole Youth Hostel is an old mill building set down in a steep side valley, through which Mill Beck flows. When the tide is out, the stream flows directly out onto the beach and then spreads out over a series of broad rocky steps as a number of little cascades, eventually making its way to the sea, joining the waves and waters of The North Sea. When the tide is in however, the beach disappears completely, the sea coming into the valley mouth, right up to the youth hostel. In fact, when the tide is in, there is absolutely no access onto the beach, as the sea comes in as far as and up the base of the surrounding cliffs.
The cliffs here-abouts are not the tallest in the country by any means and are made of quite soft material and as such are easily eroded away by the sea. There is always the risk of rock-falls and I’d recommend you stay vigilant if you’re near the base of the cliffs. In fact, the series of rock steps on the beach mentioned earlier, are the remnants of where the cliffs used to be, showing where the sea has cut back into the coastline enlarging the extent of Robin Hoods Bay. In geographical terms the flat rocky areas are known as wave cut platforms. It’s not quite so apparent at beach level, but from above on the cliffs, you can see the arching shape of the platforms heading out to sea. To the south of Boggle Hole, the rocky strips are called “Low Scar” and “High Scar”. To the north heading towards Robin Hoods Bay village, the strips are known as “Cowling Scar”, “Dab Dumps”, “East Scar” and “Landing Scar”.
Between the separate lines of rocky platforms, shall we call them strata, rock pools are trapped, some quite deep and sizeable and some areas of the rocks are covered with extensive areas of slippery seaweed. Also interspersed and strewn across the whole area are stand-alone boulders and individual rocks.
You would almost say they look like someone has placed them in little groups in an arty deliberate way. A word of warning here, if you go exploring on the rocks, please keep an eye on the tide, because as the whole beach area is quite flat, the sea comes in quickly and it especially follows the lines of the strata.
I reckon with the tide coming in, it’d very easy to get cut off from the safety of the mainland. Having said that, even with one eye on the sea, I thoroughly enjoyed my explore of the beach area between Boggle Hole and Robin Hoods Bay village.
In fact, I spent absolutely ages wandering (almost aimlessly) zig-zagging back and forth, trying to get some arty looking photo’s; subjects attempted included :-
- The mini-waterfalls of Mill Beck cascading across the rocks (trying to get a soft milky feel to the flowing water with extended shutter speeds).
- Wider views of the beach, cliffs and big skies.
- Close ups of limpets, periwinkles, barnacles, rocks and sand patterns.
- A horse being ridden across the sands.
- Boulders, rock pools and reflections.
- And quite a few views of Robin Hoods Bay village hugging onto the hillside, as I got closer and closer as I made my way across the rocky striations.
For those in the know, The “A Coast to Coast” long distance footpath (that starts on the Irish Sea at St Bees on the opposite side of the country, ends here, the idea being to pick up a pebble from the beach at the start of the walk, and deposit it in the sea here at Robin Hoods Bay. So, I wonder how many “non-native” stones I walked over or past as I made my way up to the slipway and thence up into the village. Just to the right of the slipway the precariously perched buildings are protected from the sea by the tallest sea-wall I think I’ve ever seen. With the sun shining, the white-washed houses with their neatly tiled rooves (or roofs if you prefer that spelling) look attractive and friendly. However, I can imagine with a storm coming in off The North Sea at high tide, you could feel quite vulnerable with the waves crashing in immediately below.
Today though, the weather was benign, sunny with big fluffy clouds, and reasonably warm in the sun, but the breeze was a little chilly; every now and again the clouds would turn a heavy greeny shade of grey indicating how quickly the weather could turn if it had a mind to. However, I particularly liked the contrast of the bright against dark and the associated shadows.
With the conditions so nice, I decided to head up into the village for a different set of photo’s, stone built houses, red tiled rooves, narrow streets and walkways, white-washed walls set against a vivid blue sky.
I like Robin Hoods Bay village, it’s pretty, looked after, touristy but not overly so. It hasn’t gone down the “tacky” route that other seaside towns have gone over the years and for me, it still feels like real people may well live here and with a pride in the place. Having said that, there are several pubs and tea-shops and a few trinket/touristy shops, one of which I visited to buy some boxes of fudge/toffees as gifts to be taken home.
The streets and paths through the village are sometimes steep, not surprising really given it’s clinging on to the cliff side, but well worth the effort to explore, as they twist and turn and divide and re-join, and reach dead ends and you have to turn around and end up back where you’ve been already.
You get to look up narrow sets of steps and down over roof tops and if you end up where I did, you could end up on top of the tall sea wall looking out over the coastline. All in all, it’s just a super place to wander through.
To finish my time in the village (after I’d bought my sweet gifts for home), I found my way up a side street/pathway and through to the top of some smaller sea defences (to the south of the slipway area) where I sat myself down on a bench, cracked open my packed lunch of a spicy beef pastry, hot cross buns with blackcurrant jam (a staple of mine when out walking), and other bits and pieces.
Sat in the sun, looking out over the coast I felt very relaxed. I also felt somewhat protected by a guard-sheep looking out to sea from a nearby terrace. It was of course a life-size model rather than a real live sheep; I imagined it being quite fierce, perhaps a deterrent to any lurking smugglers out in the bay waiting for nightfall to bring in their contraband, or perhaps I’m going a long way back in time to when smuggling was indeed rife in the area.
Eventually, I needed to move, I had the mile southwards along the beach to complete, (I resisted the ice cream van parked on the sands en-route), which I did without as much zig-zagging of the walk earlier in the day, only really stopping when I’d reached the Boggle Hole valley.
This is The Boggle’s cave or hole, that gives its name to the youth hostel.
Please see my earlier post from a few years earlier that gives some more info’ on what or who a Boggle is, you might find it amusing.
Again, be careful if you visit here, lumps of rock from the ceiling can and do fall to the floor of the cave.
Well, once again, I needed to move, first heading up the slipway, and then back up the steep road rising above and away from the youth hostel and up to the car-park. I don’t know how I’d managed it, but I’d spent all morning and half the afternoon doing just three miles. I don’t suppose that matters though, I’d done my bigger distances on day-1 (16.5 miles) and day-2 (10 miles) out on the moors, so I didn’t feel I needed to do any more today. Besides I enjoyed the “playing” of taking photos with more time to think about the images than I normally get when out on a walk. I still probably took far too many pic’s, but hey it’s not often I get to the seaside (I live just about as far from the sea as you can in England, living in The Midlands) so I think I can be forgiven for getting a little carried away.
And that was that, apart from the long drive back home, that was the end of my short break on The North York Moors and Coast.
Just as a final comment, if the tide is in, the beach walk is impossible, however there are a few alternatives.
- Alternative-1 = There is a footpath (part of The Cleveland Way) that runs along the top of the cliffs with access at both ends.
- Alternative-2 = Further inland there is a dismantled railway, with permissive access for walkers and cyclists. At the Boggle Hole end, you’d need to walk from the little car-park, up the quiet Bridge Holm Lane in a south westerly direction, after about a mile branch right down another minor road and then pick up the railway heading north. The old track-bed makes a number of sweeping curves to arrive at the Robin Hoods Bay end of the walk at the top of the town. This quite a bit longer than both the beach and cliff top options.
- Alternative-3 = A combination of options 1 & 2 above, say we were going from Boggle Hole to Robin Hoods Bay, take the footbridge over Mill Beck near the youth hostel, then climb up out of the valley onto the cliff path. After a while, instead of continuing along the cliff top, take a left turn onto a footpath (called Mark Lane) and then pick up the old railway (turn right) to continue to the top of Robin Hoods Bay village. This is longer than option-1 but shorter than option-2.
Any of the above could be combined with the beach route to make more of a circular walk.
Map Used :
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].
I hope you’ve enjoyed my scribblings ….
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.
Post Script …
My map has finally fallen apart and has made its final journey…
All the way – To the bin!