Walks: Ravenscar-Cider Track-War Dike Lane-Cleveland Way-Beast Cliff

Cleveland Way, Ravenscar.
Cleveland Way, Ravenscar.

Ravenscar is a small, popular village about 10 miles north-north-east of Scarborough. It stands 600ft above sea level, on the coast over-looking Robin Hood’s Bay. The Raven Hall Hotel possesses a fine golf course, and the scenery is stunning.

With controversial plans to upgrade the old railway track between Scarborough and Whitby, making recent news, we decided to re-visit one of our favourite sections.

Sustrans has published a detailed report on how the 21-mile cinder track route could be restored. Like thousands of users, we’ve enjoyed this wildlife corridor for many years, and have been particularly impressed with the section between Ravenscar towards Staintondale. Its botanical value is amazing. Just glimpsing the vegetation in September, revealed a great variety of flowers still in bloom, including harebells, knapweed, eyebright, round-headed rampion, white melilot, yellow vetching, green alkanet, and many more.

This short walk may start from the Raven Hall Hotel at the end of Raven Hall Road near the Peakside Visitor Centre, or from Station Square down Station Road.

From Raven Hall Hotel, take Station Lane to the car park and Ravenscar Tea Rooms beside the green. From Station Square ascend an insignificant path, Loring Road, onto the Cinder Track and turn left. You’re on your way, with countless wild flowers in season studding the verges with colour. Scarlet rowan berries feed the birds, and blackberries and golden raspberries gladden the hearts of walkers! This broad track is excellent for cyclists and horse-riders too, all sharing the great outdoors.

Now you’ll shortly observe the National Trust’s permissive path off left beyond a stile. Should you wish an even shorter walk, take the stile, read the interesting information board regarding the World War Two buildings on the far side of the field, and then cross the field beside right walling, towards the cliff top. There may be 40-50 cattle, so do leash any dogs!

The best part of the walk is yet to come, so don’t shorten it if possible. Continue along the track to the tunnel. Ascend steps on the right, and cross the stile to access Bent Rigg Lane. Turn left along this narrow lane bordered by brambles and honeysuckle. Follow it, as it becomes more grassed and heads seawards.

Approaching a T sign, leave the cinder track and turn left via a gate with a notice, ‘No Camping’. Descend the field beside left walling. At the foot of the field take a stile onto the Cleveland Way footpath, and turn left.

Just ahead, is a seat to your right facing the sea. Proceed with brambles and then bracken along your way to reach a handgate and yellow waymarker.

Passing World War Two buildings beyond left walling, do read this informative panel: “Seeing the Invisible Ravenscar Radar Station.” During World War Two radio waves pulsing from this site helped detect invading German ships and aircraft. The station was built in late 1940, and was one of a 
chain known as Coastal Defence Chain Home Low, built around Britain’s 
coast. It enabled operations to see enemy craft approaching that were otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Radar was invented by the British just before war started, and played a vital role in defending our country.

Now enjoy the spectacular scenery from Beast Cliff and Common Cliff, with dramatic descents to the beach!

The path narrows, and a gentle rise follows post and wire fencing on the left. A white house features near a small conifer woodland. From a daisy bush beyond, admire the breath-taking views!

Continue heading north-west along a broader path edged with broom bushes and brambles. Follow post and wire fencing around a sheep field, with a seat on the corner.

Admire the view to Robin Hood’s Bay, then reach the Cleveland Way sign. Here, leave the Cleveland Way and turn left beside left hedging. Head for 1, Station Square where you’ll discover near the car park, Ravenscar Tea Rooms – open daily through July and August but weekends only until the end of October. Open 10am-5pm, serving bread buns, light lunches, sandwiches, salad, jacket potatoes, home-made cakes and ice cream.

Distance: Raven Hall Hotel start = 3.75 miles approximately or Station Square start = 3 miles approximately.

Refreshment: Raven Hall Hotel, Peakside Visitor Centre and Ravenscar Tea Rooms.