Jo’s Monday walk : Surprised at Skinningrove

Dedicated to Skinningrove Homing Society

Dedicated to Skinningrove Homing Society

Skinningrove used to be a bit of an ugly duckling.  Situated on the north east coast of England, midway between picturesque Staithes and Saltburn-by-the Sea, it has fierce competition in the beauty stakes.  You have to turn off the coast road to go looking for it, and many would not trouble.  The village is trying to attract it’s share of revenue from tourism and, with the help of a leaflet entitled ‘Skinningrove Valley Trail’, that’s where we’ll be walking today.

Our start point is by the jetty, built in the 1880s to serve the ironworks which is the reason for the village’s existence.  My leaflet describes it as looking forlorn, but funding has been acquired to renovate the jetty.  The process was just beginning at the time of my walk.

A straggle of houses and fishing boats decorate the shoreline.  A fisherman nods ‘good morning’ and carries on painting his tired looking boat, soon to have a new lease of life.  Crossing Skinningrove Beck into the village we come swiftly upon the tribute to the Homing Pigeon Society, which reminds us that using pigeons to carry messages dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Locally the birds are known for their heroic activities in World War II.


Across the beck from Stone Row you can see man-made caves, which were carved out to shelter hospital patients when bombing raids took place during the war.  And then the first of my ‘surprises’.  On the bridge, a mosaic which illustrates the story of the village.


A few 'tangoing' poppies, a bench and the tip of an anchor

A few ‘tango-ing’ poppies, a bench and the tip of a rusting anchor

And looking back, the man-made caves

And looking back, the man-made caves

The Square is a designated Conservation Area.  Former Timm’s Coffee House stands importantly on the corner, now converted to a guest house, ‘Moonfleet’, rather sadly.  Part of the building is Grade II listed, having started life in 1704 as Skinningrove Hall. In the 19th century it was developed as a hotel by the Maynard family, who named it Timm’s Coffee House after the coffee houses that were then popular in London.

With an 'unusual' bench, for Jude?

An ‘unusual’ enough bench, for Jude?

Another of my ‘surprises’ coming up next.  I spent many a happy minute exclaiming over the mosaics on the side of Riverside Building. It began life as a school in 1884 and remained so till the late 1990s.  Since then it has become a base for community projects and activities, and is run by a group of volunteers.  I pop back for a cuppa and a gossip with the locals at the end of my walk, but for now let’s just enjoy the mosaics.

This one looks at the floods of 2000

This one illustrates the major floods of 2000

Click on any photo to open the gallery

The building is no work of art, but the efforts of Glynis Johnson and the school children who were involved are delightful.  There are two themes- the floods and the Story of the Merman. Allegedly a ‘sea-man’ was once caught by the local fisherfolk.  He lived on raw fish for a number of days but then managed to escape.  Sometimes, when the sea is calm, a hideous groaning can be heard and the fishermen are afraid to go to sea!

The Story of the Merman

The Story of the Merman

Skinningrove was a mining village, though the evidence is harder to find these days.  The rust red water in the beck vividly testifies to the presence of iron, and the remains of an entrance to the mine can still be seen.  I had intended to visit the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum but was not convinced that I wanted to go underground.  During the war the mine was regularly used for shelter, and a school log book entry for 9th September, 1915 reads “Owing to Zeppelin raid and the children having been in the mines a good part of last night, we have been obliged to close school today”.

I later discovered that the guided tour takes an hour and a half.  At Christmas, Santa delivers his sack of toys along the miner’s track, without any necessity to go below ground.  Maybe I’ll come back then!

One more ‘surprise’ in store.  A mural on Doorstep Green portrays ‘Evolution of Life in the Sea’. It was created by Philippa Threlfall, using materials from Skinningrove beach, and with the help of children from the former Rosecroft School.

Again, click on a photo to see it in detail

The Valley Trail climbs out of the village and across the A174 (a busy road), following the beck into Whitecliff Wood.  Curiosity impelled me to take a look, but you could simply retrace your steps.  Over the road I pass by an animal sanctuary, where the animals appear quite content.  The adjoining house has lupins by the fence and I pause, remembering my mother, who always had roses and lupins in her garden.  The trail soon peters out as the beck flows through a culvert under the railway embankment.

Back in Skinningrove, I find the friendly ‘staff’ in Riverside Building in a lull between customers.  I consume the cheapest toasted teacake and mug of coffee I’ve ever had, while they tell me about life in the village.  Everything is done on a voluntary basis and they pool their expertise. Apparently a little gift shop is set to open up soon.  If you pass that way, drop in and say ‘hi’, and you can pick up a leaflet on this trail.  Here they are, on Facebook.

Heading for home now, but not before I take a look at ‘Repus’- the fishing coble which serves as a memorial to those lost at sea.

The last bench reminds me that this is the midway point along the Cleveland Way, a 110 mile walk between Helmsley and Filey.  Now there’s a challenge!  If you prefer something a little easier, why not drop in on Jude for her Bench challenge?

I’m a little further down the coast today, walking on the cliff tops at Whitby, so I may be late in answering your comments.  I suspect you’ll have plenty to keep you busy in the meantime. Thanks for reading!

walking logo

Once again I’d like to say a huge thank you to those who have contributed to making my Jo’s Monday walk a success.  If you’d like to join in, click on the logo for details.  Time to put the kettle on and settle back for a read.  I think I need some toast, too.


A busy spot, the Gare de L’Est!  Please take your time and watch the video.  Thanks, Drake!

East- entrance to Paris

Hope you had good Canada and Independence Days, all those who celebrate it!

Cee’s Which Way Challenge

Inspirational shots from Amy!  She’s on holiday this week.  Treats in store!

The Antelope Canyon

A lighthouse, and some stunning thrift?  Cornwall, of course!  Many thanks, Jude :

Pendeen Watch

Wild thyme and Lady’s Bedstraw, from Tish, but not very much sleep, unfortunately!

Return to Windmill Hill: Of Grasshopper stalking, Lady’s Bedstraw and other random discoveries 

Meanwhile Pauline is up at the crack of dawn to capture the sunlight on the water :

Early morning walk along the beach

And Ruth has gone to the other extreme.  Both extremely beautiful!

A walk in the moonlight

Thank you for finding time to read these wonderful contributions.  I hope I haven’t ‘wittered on’ too long.  Maybe something shorter next week? (though this trail is only a mile and a half long) Grab some sun, if you can, and I’ll see you then.



  1. For me, this was a nautical delight what with the mermen mosaic, the beach jetty, and the Repus memorial. I also love the first picture with the statue memorializing the Skinningrove Homing Society.

    1. That’s probably my favourite shot 🙂 I’m just starting to write my walk for tomorrow and trying to convince myself not to go to the seaside again! This village was a lovely surprise. Thank you for your time and energy, Lisa 🙂

  2. Another fascinating walk Jo and sounds like you found it on the off chance. I love the way the community is pitching in together for projects and involving the local school children – the mosaics are charming. It must have been a tough life there during its time as a mining town. The coffee and teacakes sound ideal refreshments after a bracing walk by the sea! Here is my link for your Monday Walk (if you’ve any space this week if not next week!)

    1. When I was a bit younger (and arguably fitter 🙂 ) I’d passed by Skinningrove when walking parts of the Cleveland Way, so I knew of the harbour, but I’d never been into the village, Rosemay. It was a good surprise 🙂 Thanks for spending so much time with me. And the walk 🙂 I do appreciate it.

    1. Hi Jill 🙂 Yes, it’s all about the sea in this part of the world. I’m feeling rather tired right now. Unaccustomed warmth along with the walking 🙂 Many thanks for joining me again.

  3. Wow…..that bench is certainly most unusual. Doesn’t look too comfy though. 😕 The mosaics are so amazing and a real treasure. The Repus memorial and coble are very moving indeed. Thanks again for a fascinating trip.

    1. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a cushion for most benches, Ad (though I seem to remember that yours came with them included 🙂 ) Glad you enjoyed the walk. I’m always amazed at what I can find out there.

    1. I like that wood sculpture too, Sartenada. Did you notice that it’s echoed in the mosaics on the school wall? I really enjoyed my visit. Thanks for your company 🙂

    1. I’m sorry, Violet. I keep meaning to write shorter posts but there were so many details in this one. I hate to leave any out. Many thanks for your walk. 🙂

  4. What a beautiful walk Jo filled with such creative craft – I love the tile photos and have looked at them many times now. The Repus is a most poignant memorial, very moving. If I’m ever up that way this is one walk I’ll have to complete. Thank you for sharing with us all.

    1. As I said at the outset, Annika, it’s a little rough round the edges and not the kind of place everyone would head for. (I seem to specialise in those 🙂 ) But the mosaics are worth a look from anyone’s point of view and it’s quite a pretty valley. Thanks for your company!

  5. Hi Jo! So glad to be back again, although as you know, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts via your links on FB while off-blog, so I’m not completely out of the loop, even if I haven’t been able to ‘like’ or comment here 🙂 Such fascinating and beautiful murals. I can see why you were so pleasantly surprised during your deligthful walk. Love it when that happens 🙂

    1. Yee-ha! I was just asking Jude if she’s seen you on here, because I don’t make it to FB all that often and my Reader almost never (same old same old! 🙂 ) Lovely to have you back! Does this mean you have a post up, Sherri? I’ve had an exhausting couple of days and am planning some catch up and Wimbledon after I’ve done the pesky ironing! Big hugs 🙂

      1. Ahh Jo…I wanted to get over to you as soon as possible and I see that you’ve already been over to me 🙂 So sorry you’ve had such a tiring time. Hope you’re okay… I’m doing just the same, watching Murray and ironing – taking breaks to catch up here! Crazy isn’t it? More big hugs right back 🙂

    2. The only good thing about the rain delays is you get to watch the other match in the gap 🙂 Ironing done now. Collapse! 🙂 And I need to come back to yours. It doesn’t do it justice to skim read.

    1. Hi Suze! 🙂 I was sort of trespassing to take that bench photo so I didn’t linger too long. The lady of the house has a reputation for not liking intruders. I suppose I might find a history to the bench in Google.

  6. I loved this walk. The story murals are fantastic. I wanted the Dickin Medal to be named after the character in The Secret Garden but the spelling is different. Don’t you think it would still have been appropriate??

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