A WINTER walk that leaves the North Yorkshire Coast at Staithes and follows the Cleveland Way to the ruined Port Mulgrave before turning in and returning through the woods at Borrowby.

Staithes (pronounced Steeths) is the home of Captain Cook (he worked in a drapers shop) before he set off on his deeds of heroism and immortality. It has retained much of its local character although the famous Cod and Lobster pubs shows signs of the battering this part of the coast gets from the weather.

Parking is at the top of the village so follow the road through the narrow streets at the water’s edge. Pass Captain Cook’s Cottage and take to Church Street, climbing sharply out the village to the south.

The cliff top path is part of the Cleveland Way. However it is also part of the English Coastal Path, a major project by Natural England that completes the entire English Coast on one footpath and is planned for completion in 2021. Quite a challenge for someone!

Fortunately we are just walking one-and-a-half miles along the coast, enough to taste the lovely views, sea birds and no doubt wild sea. The first part of the coastal route is inland but towards Port Mulgrave sticks closer to the cliffs. Just before arriving at the village of Port Mulgrave there is a bench with excellent views over Lingrove Cliffs and past Runswick Bay to Kettleness.

Rows of houses mark the Port Mulgrave on the top of the cliffs but the greatest satisfaction is to descend the 300 foot path to the old, now derelict ironstone port. In the 1850s the ironstone was mined from the cliffs and transported to the furnaces in the Tees and Tyne to the north. Today the area is a fascinating mix of wooden sailing boats, mining remains.

A derelict pier and lobster pots from the fishing vessels. It is worth the detour although the climb back up the cliff path has little appeal!

On returning to the cliff top leave the coast (the next section is particularly muddy) and follow the rad through upper Port Mulgrave to the church at the northern end of Hinterwell.

Cross the road and follow a track, turning in to a path heading just south of east in to the woods of Dales Beck. Cross the stream and after a short climb turn right and follow the path through the woods for three quarters of of a mile to a second footbridge. This woodland section is very pleasant but at this time of the year may be a little muddy.

Take the left fork and carry on to the small hamlet of Daleshouse (complete with the fine Fox and Hounds pub).

Turn right and follow the road in to Staithes.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles

Height to Climb: 260m (850 feet) includes the detour to old Port Mulgrave.

Start: NZ 781185. There is a car park in Upper Staithes.

Difficulty: Medium. As with all cliff walking there is more up and down than expected and some of the paths are muddy.

Refreshments: There is a choice of pubs and cafes in Staithes.

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 27) 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.