Bempton Cliffs

The RSPB reserve ​on the dramatic chalk sea cliffs on the Yorkshire coast north of Bridlington. A modern visitor centre is strategically placed to obscure the Public Footpath so visitors unwittingly pay the £4 entry fee. All in a good cause though but I wish it was more transparent.

Lots of sea birds flying around and clinging precariously to the rock face but I don’t think many have laid yet. At one time seabird eggs would have a valuable food resource. The practice of climming involved being lowered down on ropes to collect the eggs. This provided quite a spectacle for Victorian tourists. Other tourists would hire boats to take them under the cliffs to take pot shots at the nesting birds. Some locals were however appalled at this slaughter and campaigned against the senseless killing. This lead eventually to the Seabird Preservation Act of 1869 the first act of Parliament to protect sea birds and which was superceded by the Protection of Birds Act 1954. This act also made egg collecting illegal thereby outlawing the practice of climming.

Filey Brigg

The end of a promontory, 1.5km long, protruding into the North Sea. The headland, Carr Naze, has attracted humans for thousands of years. Prehistoric flint tools have been found and the remains of a Roman watchtower. It is estimated the watchtower was 20m square and stood on a neck of land now a mere 3m wide. Such is the amount of erosion that has occured over the last two millenia.

Cote de Robin Hood’s Bay

I can’t believe it’s a year since the Tour de Yorkshire came through my village of Great Ayton. A bit further to travel this year but a pleasant ride along the Esk Valley to Robin Hood’s Bay. A tremendous atmosphere on the Cote de Robin Hood’s Bay, a 1.5km climb at 10.3%. Four or five riders had broken away, this is le peloton nearing the summit of Brow Top. I found out later watching the highlights on the tele there was a mega crash in Scarborough. I hope no one has been seriously injured.

Tour de Yorkshire map

Carlton Alum Works

The great scar of the alum workings on Carlton Bank, just beginning to regenerate but still large areas are sterile. In the distance across the yellow fields of rapeseed Roseberry can be seen, just a pimple on the horizon. The alum works date from 1680 and operated for almost 100 years until the price of alum became too low for the operation to be feasible. In the 19th century the area underwent a second major disturbance with jet mining. Nevertheless in 1997, prior to stabilisation work on the slope, an archaeological dig found the remains of steeping pits, cisterns and troughs. These were backfilled as a means of protecting the remains.

Carlton Alum Works map

Newton Moor

One of my DoE students asked me at the weekend where my favourite place to walk is. I replied with some naff comment that it was the last place I walked. But it got me thinking. For sure I live for the moment of where I happen to be but to return to my home hills after a spell away is particularly comforting and warm even when being battered by a wintry April shower.

The Australian Aboriginals and the Native American Indians both have their scared places. Such do not seem to appear in the British psyche; or perhaps they did long, long ago but have since been built on by churches, henges and tumuli. The Swedes have a nice idea, a personal special place: smultronställe which literally translates as “a place of wild strawberries”, I like that concept, an idyll to return to for solace and relaxation, where stress or sadness evaporate.

Now where is my smultonställe?

Little Roseberry map

Dromonby Bank

The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow so forecasted the Met Office. I thought they were being their usual pessimistic selves but there were patches of snow in the plantations around Cringle Moor this evening. In a breathing space between the April showers the last of the sun picks out the fields of rapeseed.

Evening Sun map


Thurkilsti, or Thurkill’s hill road as mentioned in Walter Espec’s grant of land to Rievaulx Abbey in 1145. An ancient route across the moors from Welburn and Skiplam descending here down Turkey Nab on its way to Ingleby Greenhow and Stokesley. The route is now classified as a Byway Open to All Traffic which makes it very popular with off road vehicles.

The wall corner is named as Park Corner on old Ordnance Survey maps, the corner of Park Plantation. The blip on the horizon is Roseberry Topping, mostly hidden behind Easby Moor.

Thurkilsti map