Cleveland Way

Jo’s Monday walk : Through the Valley


Handsome chap, isn’t he?  You’ll meet him later.  I often accompany my husband if he’s out on a job and it’s a nice day.  He goes to work and I go off to play. Almost fair, isn’t it?  This week he was back in Saltburn and after two dreary, wet days I was determined to find myself a walk. The day was still a little overcast but I had high hopes.

My walk started on Marske Mill Road, on the outskirts of Saltburn, where I had spotted a public footpath sign.  The path tumbled quite rapidly downhill and soon I was at a junction.  The branch to my left was clearly signed ‘Valley Gardens’, but the more tantalising option had no marked destination.  It’s obvious which I chose, isn’t it?  This was my reward.

Viaducts are always an arresting sight, especially when they appear unexpectedly.  The ground was quite moist, and I could hear the chuckling sound of water.  Intrigued and captivated, I followed a concrete path which led me beneath the viaduct.


Ahead, a metal bridge crosses the churning stream.  Aged sleepers form steps and the path leads up, beside the viaduct.  A hint of blue had appeared in the sky and soon the bare woodlands are transformed.  I exchange greetings with a couple of dog walkers and stop to admire the tree patterns cast by the sun.  This little chap, sitting on the path, was most suspicious of my activities.

I fell into step with his owner and we began to chat.  I had assumed that the path would lead me back into Saltburn at some point. Completely wrong!  We were headed inland, in the direction of Skelton village, where she lived.  The notorious sense of direction working well again.  I enjoyed her company a little further, but then decided to retrace my steps the short distance back to the viaduct. By now the pale sunlight had begun to sneak into crevasses, and glint on the frothing water.

Back across the bridge I went, and up to the junction where the sign so clearly announced ‘Valley Gardens’.  I may have taken the wrong turn, but I was quite delighted by my little escapade.  The woodland gardens were now washed in gentle sunshine- that welcoming bench, not too far ahead.


Joyful Spring burgeonings were everywhere as I followed the path through the woods.  Just above the formal Italian gardens, a quirky little corner is being developed by the Friends of the Valley- a Bumblebee Bistro.  It’s good to see the nurturing process continue in these Valley Gardens, which date right back to 1860.  The mischief in me wants to link this post to Jude and her Wildlife Garden, but I know I’ll get no thanks!

You might remember these beguiling mosaics from my last visit to Saltburn.  At the Woodlands Centre, created to encourage children to interact with nature, I managed to find some more.  Appealing to adults, too, I think.  Cute badger and bunnies!


The Valley Gardens Tearooms is a nice little spot to sit beneath the trees, but I needed to press on through the valley.  I wasn’t too sure how much time I had, but you’ll be pleased to know that I did make a stop at Camfields.  It’s a favourite of mine for its friendly service, not to mention cakes.

A quick text message established that I had half an hour left to play.  Just time for one last treat.  I’m heading for the cliff top.  Can you keep up?



The path leads up to the cliffs from just behind ‘The Ship Inn’.  There you can join the Cleveland Way, a superb 110 mile coastal walk. Just three and a half miles away, the first stop is Skinningrove.  But I think that’s enough for one day.  Don’t you?

I may have rambled a little today but this map from National Trails will give you an excellent overview of my walk.  I hope you enjoyed it?  Definitely time to put the kettle on, and settle in for a good read.

walking logo

Many thanks to all my lovely contributors.  My Monday walks wouldn’t be the same without you.  If you’re new here you can find details of how to join in on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.  You’ll be made very welcome.


Last week, Paula gave me a beautiful start to the walks :

Live musically

LOTS of warnings accompany this one from Ellen.  For the brave (or a trifle  foolhardy)!

Going for a Walk : Tongariro Alpine Crossing (Or why do my legs hurt?)

If I said to you STILL in Mexico you’d know I meant Jackie :

Monday Walk- Puerto Vallarta

Make time for pelicans with Amy!  Well worth a wait :

Monday Walk : Making time for the Sunset

Not sure that I fancy ‘mouse water’ but I trust Anabel’s judgement :

Lanark and the Mouse Water

Morro Beach looks blissful!  Come and have a morning stroll with Susan :

California Coastal Walk

Always a smile with Drake!  How can you resist the man?

Let’s call it Sandy 

Some sterling Scottish vistas from Smidge (no, I didn’t say ‘Stirling’) :

Dawdling at Dawyck Botanic Gardens

And a wonderful panorama from Rosemay in Perth (no, not that one either!)

Checking Out Elizabeth Quay

So much colder in Canada!  Get your top coat out for this one :

Kananaskis, Alberta

But Gilly has found glorious Springtime for us :

The Day We’ve All Been Waiting For

Another week of fabulous contributions.  Thank you everybody and I hope you have a great week.

Note to Jude- there’s a dog, and he’s wild!  Well, quite cross, anyway.

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!

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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.


Jo’s Monday walk : Peaceful Staithes

Shall we start with a bench?

Shall we start with a bench view, in Staithes?

You can probably guess how this post is going to go, from my opening shot.  This month Jude is featuring benches ‘by the beach’ in her Bench challenge.  It just so happens that on a windy, partially sunny day this week I had the good fortune to be in Staithes.  It’s one of North Yorkshire’s more characterful seaside villages, with houses tumbling pell-mell down the cliffs. And, importantly, it has a good collection of benches.

Shall I share them now, then we can go walking?

A 'plaice' to bear in mind for your lunchtime fish and chips?

A ‘plaice’ to bear in mind for your lunchtime fish and chips?

Click on any image to see the galleries in detail 

Everything looks better in the sunshine but those railings do need a coat of paint

Everything looks better in the sunshine but those railings do need a coat of paint

Now that we’ve established where you can eat, or just sit and enjoy the view, let’s go back up to the clifftop where my walk starts.  There’s a car park up there and a nice little TI- not always open because it’s staffed by volunteers. (another job I’d like!)

A map is always helpful

A map is always helpful

As Jude will know, we are in James Cook territory.  Cook had his first employment in Staithes, for a local merchant named William Sanderson, whose quayside shop was destroyed by a violent storm in the early 19th century. Materials from this shop may have been used in the construction of the new premises in Church St., now known as Cook’s Cottage.  A footpath leads off to your right from the top of the village and descends gently between a hodge podge of houses. Beyond the rooftops the cliffs stand guard, keeping a watchful eye on the sea.

The sea waits patiently below

Below, the sea waits patiently

In the harbour there’s a sense of drama.  These cliffs can both shelter and entrap.  Today not even the chimes of the icecream van disturb the peace, but a wind whips the sand in little flurries. I try to capture the movement with my camera but it craftily eludes me.

Can you feel the motion in the sand?

Can you feel the motion in the sand?

And yet, looking back, all is calm

And yet, looking back, all is calm

The boats sleeping peacefully on the shore

The boats sleeping peacefully on the shore

The baskets, empty

The baskets, empty

Time to climb back up to the cliff top.  Dawdle up Church St. and, if you like, pop into the Arts and Crafts Centre.  It has a lovely little garden at the rear.

The crafts are lovely too

The crafts are lovely too

On the cliff top you can join the Cleveland Way– 110 miles of walking, much of it beside the sea. I don’t suggest that you do all of it right now, but I can give you a glimpse of what you might find up there.  It stretches from the hub of Helmsley- a totally different kind of village- inland and down the coast to Filey.  I spent most of my childhood holidays on this coast and I love to return.

It was blustery on the cliff tops so I didn’t stay long.  A path off to your left will bring you round behind the village and back to the car park, or you can simply retrace your steps.  Another Monday, another walk!  I hope you’ve enjoyed this one, and please don’t forget to seek out those benches for Jude.

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Again I have some wonderful shares for you so thank you very much to all who support me and contribute.  You are my happy band of walkers.  Details of how you can join in Jo’s Monday walks are on the logo above.  Time to rest those weary legs and put the kettle on for a good read.


I can always make time for a day trip.  How about you?  The company’s good!

Day Tripper

It’s many years since I was in beautiful Salzburg.  Debbie had much better weather :

Sunny Stroll along the Salzach

Blossom to die for! (or is that a tad melodramatic?)  Gorgeous, anyway!  Thanks, Violet :

Sakura in the sunshine

Speaking of sunshine, anyone been to Scotland lately?  Cheers, Anabel!

Sunny Dunny : Dunbar

I know that Jude loves the Cornish beaches and sunshine, but the gardens?  Just fabulous!

Garden Portrait : Tremenheere

And while we’re looking at Spring sunshine, let’s visit Meg in Warsaw and those cute ladybugs of hers!

Another day of Spring glory

Praga is a little known area in Warsaw.  This guided tour is fascinating.

Across to the Dark Side

More conjectures and Thames footpath with Geoff :

The Thames Path- Bablock Hythe to Oxford

And Amy, enjoying nature and sharing so beautifully :

Monday Walk 

Prepare yourselves!  It’s tumbling time!  You’ll enjoy this terrific post from Yvette (did you catch the icecream man, hon?)

Force of Nature- walk with Jo

A little more sedately, Jaspa tackles some history, ‘down Panama way’ :

A stroll through Old Panama City, Part 1- Panama Viejo

Down in the southern hemisphere, thoughts are turning to Autumn :

Day 3 of the road trip and we revisit Eastwoodhill 

Brilliant, aren’t they?  I hope you have a happy week.  It’s a Bank Holiday in the UK next weekend but I’ll still be here.  Hope that you will be too.

Which Way? The Cleveland Way!

You know I love it!

You know I love it!

I think I may have warned you that I still have a Whitby clifftop shot or two up my sleeve?  Well, Cee is giving me the perfect opportunity to show them off.

Now we’re here you may as well come and see a little more of Whitby, if you’re not bored, of course? As usual, click on a photo to see it in gallery form.

Along the pier is a good way to go.

Along the pier is a good way to go.

A poetic ending!

A poetic ending!

Well, I think I’ve probably got Whitby out of my system, for the time being.  The Goth Festival’s taking place there at the end of this month.  Now there’s a spectacle you oughtn’t to miss!

Thank you so much, Cee, for hosting Which Way?  I’ve enjoyed every step of it.  Click on the links or the logo to read more about the challenge.



I’ve been invited to share something with you. (no, not secrets- don’t worry!)  The Works Stores are hosting a competition for travel bloggers who love to read.  Inspired by the film release of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road“, the idea is to post about a memorable read you’ve had whilst travelling.  My good friend, Richard, of A Bit of Culture must be a contender for the prize of a £250 book voucher, with his excellent Trainspotting post.  Nip over and have a read to get you in the right frame of mind.

Meantime, I’d better get on with it.  The closing date for entry is 30th November.  I don’t have a hope of winning, but I do like to entertain.  The book I’ve selected is Freya North’s Secrets.  I can’t pretend that it’s a classic, but it does have a setting which is close to my heart, and funnily enough I was there just the other day, gathering up Autumn leaves.

Huntcliff Nab, from Saltburn beach

Leaving an unhappy life in the south of England, Tess fetches up in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, on the north east coast, in search of a new beginning.  She delights in the panoramic views of Huntcliff Nab, and is just a little taken with her landlord, Joe. I’m a bit of a romantic so I was one hundred percent behind the liaison. Mingled with the story is an exploration of Saltburn and it’s history.   Joe is an engineer who builds bridges, and is passionate about the area.

View from halfway up the cliff, with “Old Saltburn” in the background

Old Saltburn started life as a single row of smugglers cottages down by the shore. In the 1860s Henry Pease, a local industrialist, had a vision for a cliff top town to cater for the wealthy, with formal gardens sweeping down to the sea.  Its crowning glory, the Zetland Hotel, was the world’s first railway hotel. The building still commands wonderful views out to sea, but sadly today the hotel has given way to flats.

Pease’s father was a founder member of the Stockton and Darlington Railway– the first passenger railway in the world- so it’s no surprise that a miniature railway was constructed to run through the Valley Gardens.  It still runs in the Summer time, with its little steam engine, “Prince Charles”.  You can follow the “Sealt Burna”, for which Saltburn was named (a salty stream, coloured brown by alum in the soil) back through the gardens to meet the sea.  It’s a captivating spot.  Beneath the low mound of Cat Nab nestles the corner cafe, Camfords.  Warm purple blankets sit on the chair backs, so you can still enjoy the outdoors, even on a nippy north eastern day.

Tess and Joe explore their relationship within this nurturing backdrop.  I love that Tess plays “Poohsticks” with her daughter under the same bridge that my son sometimes used when small.  And that the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough has a minor supporting role.

The “Poohsticks” bridge

The most striking features of Saltburn are the Victorian Pier and water-balanced cliff lift, both of which have been photographed and painted numerous times.  “Pier Arts and Crafts”, next to the lift entrance, has many examples.  So too does “Artsbank” in Milton St., a short wander through the faded grandeur of the jewel streets (Diamond, Ruby, Pearl, etc).  This beautifully restored building needs strong legs to climb its many stairs, but you can pull up a chair to watch video footage of the town and its history, and relax in the cafe afterwards.

View of the pier from Pier Arts and Crafts

A peak into one of the rooms in “Artsbank”

I hope I’ve saved the best till last when I tell you that Saltburn lies at the end of the Cleveland Way.  Ascend the steps to some of the most beautiful cliff top walking our coastline can offer.  This is also the point at which I tell you that my memorable read began on a days hiking along the Cleveland Way to the pretty village of Staithes.  I stopped to browse a book display, and there it was.  I fished the book out, started to read and was immediately entranced that I had walked those same streets.

Clifftop walking on the Cleveland Way

Dropping down into Staithes

The village of Staithes, North Yorkshire

Freya North has an obvious fondness for Saltburn, which she describes as “quirky and enchanting” in her notes and photographs at the end of the novel.  I finished the book in next to no time, and always now think of Tess whenever I return to Saltburn.  I won’t spoil it for you by telling you the outcome.  Where would be the “secret” in that?

Looking back along the pier as the sun sets over Saltburn

To enter the competition, as detailed in I now need to nominate 3 bloggers who might like to take part:

Hobby Fabulous is a Canadian living in London and seeking diversion from the hum drum.

Vics Pics and More I hope Vicky won’t mind this nomination.  We have covered much of the same ground in the UK, and at one point even found ourselves in the same place at the same time. (but we didn’t know it!)

Lorna’s Tearoom Delights is an exquisite looking blog I can highly recommend.  I’m on the skinny side but if I’d tried out as many tearooms as Lorna, I’d be huge, but highly satisfied.

All the details about hashtags, etc are in The Works website.  Finally, everyone needs A Bit of Culture in their week, so don’t forget to say “hi” to Richard.  Good luck everybody!