ONE of the least walked sections of the Yorkshire Coast is south from Saltburn to Skinningrove. The return can be varied by heading a little inland and enjoying the excellent views from Warsett Hill.

Start the walk at Saltburn, although it is perfectly possible to start at Skinnigrove. Saltburn is a Victorian Spa Town which has retained many of its old features and still gives a feel of a bygone age. It has the only traditional seaside pier on the Yorkshire coast, 600ft long, as well as some outstanding architecture and original features. From the water-powered cliff lift near the pier cross the River Skelton via the road and as you pass the Ship Inn take the sign on your left and join the Cleveland Way. At a path junction take the coastal path. This is the first section of the Cleveland Way which is along the coast, a relief for many who have spent the past four or five days crossing the North York Moors.

The coast at this point faces north as it climbs gradually over the cliffs below. The path sticks close to the edge of the cliffs so take care, in places it can be a little unnerving. After one mile the cliffs turn more easterly and meets the section of the Old Railway line which is perched dramatically over the sea. The erosion of the coast continues a pace and soon the old railway line will disappear. This section of the railway (originally opened in 1883) was never particularly popular and badly constructed, it closed to the public in 1971. However, on this walk it is a pleasant reminder of our interesting history. On leaving the railway line the path continues close to the coast but starting to drop towards Skinningrove.

Before reaching Skinningrove the path drops next to a wide expanse of beach, Cattersty Sands. It is a tranquil spot. The beach is split by a rocky pier, a legacy of the iron ore industry of the 19th century. The local ore was taken to Middlesbrough from the pier and the full story is told at the nearby Ironstone Mining Museum. The beach leads in to Skinningrove, a village originally based upon fishing but growing more on the iron ore industry. It is an interesting place to explore.

Return along the coast (via the same path) for one mile, past Casterty Sands to a footpath that leaves the path on your left/inland. It crosses the railway line and enters open access land. Pick your own route as on the climb up to the trig point at Warsett Hill. However take the short detour to the Old Fanhouse on your right. The summit of Warsett Hill is a 200ft climb from the railway and offers some excellent all round views, even better than I expected. From here walk north west to join a footpath that heads west back across the railway line. The footpath crosses some open fields before turning in to a farm track at a farm and soon a bridleway. This is part of the National Cycle Network running from the south coast to north of Scotland. It soon drops in to Saltburn.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 8 miles (13km)

Height to Climb: 400m (1,310ft)

Start: NZ 665217. There is parking near the pier in Saltburn.

Difficulty: Medium. The terrain is straightforward but it is a bit of a pull up Warsett Hill.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

  • He has published 2 books on walks in the Dales, ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’ and ‘The Dales 30’ mountains. Available direct from the Where2walk website.
  • Book a Navigation Training day (Beginners or Intermediates). All dates and information on the website. Next available date May 14th.
  • Leisurely guided walks up the Yorkshire mountains. Next date Pen-y-Ghent May 4th, Whernside May 5th, Ingleborough May 6th (pre booking required)

Jonathan’s popular website, also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.

Refreshments: There is a choice of pubs and cafes in Saltburn and mid walk café in Skinningrove.

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL26) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk. Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.