Have you got a good bike, a spare weekend and spirit of adventure? This 268-mile cycle weekender is the ‘heart’ of new Route YC trails on the Yorkshire Coast between Whitby and Spurn Point


Great British Life: Cyclist Jenny Graham takes a breather at Flamborough, Cyclist Jenny Graham takes a breather at Flamborough, (Image: Markus Stitz)


Start the ride at Scarborough railway station or railway stations in Filey, Hunmanby, Bempton, Bridlington, Hutton Cranswick, Nafferton, Driffield, Seamer, Grosmont, Egton and Whitby - all good starting points too. The NYMR stations Levisham, Goathland and Grosmont are on the route.

From Scarborough the route head towards Oliver’s Mount overlooking Scarborough. In 2016 this was the summit for the final classified climb on the third stage of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race.

The route continues to Osgodby. Stop and enjoy the views then enjoy a nice flat section, taking you on a mixture of small roads and bridleways into Muston village then to Filey.

You can stop at nice cafes as the route passes through town and a caravan park on the outskirts. This is followed by another short section on the busy A165 before you climb on quiet roads to Hunmanby.

This is the eastern end of the Yorkshire Wolds, the northernmost chalk hills in the UK. You continue on roads to Reighton, Speeton and Bempton. The cliffs near Flamborough Head are a stunning stop on the route.

Flamborough Head’s cliff top has two lighthouse towers, the oldest dating from 1669. The steep coast provides nesting sites for many thousands of seabirds. The route continues on a bridleway from the car park at Danes Dyke to Sewerby.

Great British Life: Hop off the bike and take a trip on the Yorkshire Belle for a different view of the coast at Bempton. Hop off the bike and take a trip on the Yorkshire Belle for a different view of the coast at Bempton. (Image: Markus Stitz)

From Sewerby the route follows a spectacular cycle path to Bridlington, best-known for shellfish. As all other towns along the coast, its main trade outside of fishing is summer tourism. A trip on the Yorkshire Belle, which sails from Easter to mid-October from the North Pier, is a great way to explore the spectacular cliffs of Flamborough and Bempton from a different perspective.

The route heads into Burton Agnes. Pass Burton Agnes Hall, an Elizabethan manor house built by Sir Henry Griffith in 1601–10 to designs attributed to Robert Smythson.

Close to Lissett, you will pass a memorial on the site of a former RAF airfield. During World War 2 the 158 Squadron took off from here and played an important role in defending Britain. There are twelve wind turbines on the site, with eleven turbines named after aircraft and the twelfth to commemorate the six airmen who perished on July 2, 1943 due to an explosion in the bomb dump. Continue on the National Byway to Skipsea. The coast near the village to the east is the fastest eroding coastline in northern Europe.

From Skipsea head to Hornsea, towards the Hornsea Promenade. This seaside town expanded in the Victorian era with the rise of the railways and became known for Hornsea Pottery, which was established in 1949, but closed in 2000.

This cycle path follows the route of the former Hull and Hornsea Railway out of the city. This, highly enjoyable, part of the route takes you into Holderness which has more in common with the Netherlands than with other parts of Yorkshire. The next stop is Withernsea, the most southerly seaside town on the Yorkshire Coast.

Withernsea is home to an inland lighthouse in the middle of the town. Nowadays a museum, there was nothing between it and the sea but sand dunes when it was built, and the fear of coastal erosion led to it being positioned well back.

Great British Life: The spectacular landscape at Spurn. The spectacular landscape at Spurn. (Image: Markus Stitz)

From Holmpton you follow a mix of quiet roads and bridleways to Easington. Coastal erosion led to many villages in this area being lost to the sea many years ago. The riding here is fast and enjoyable, and after passing Kilnsea the next stop on the route is Spurn Point.

Big skies and ever changing wildlife make the evocative landscape of Spurn not only one of the most iconic nature reserves but also an intriguing place to cycle - Yorkshire's very own Lands' End; an iconic and constantly moving peninsula which curves between the North Sea and the Humber Estuary.

The route continues from the visitor centre across the sandy beach first, to meet the remains of the former road to Spurn Lighthouse.

Shortly after Kilnsea you head west on a mixture of roads and bridleways following the coast to Skeffling. The route continues to Patrington, passing the Gunpowder Plot Sculpture and the Greenwich Meridian. The sculpture of four of the plotters, including Guy Fawkes, was erected to mark the defeat of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, commemorating East Yorkshire's links to the Gunpowder Plot. Two of the conspirators, brothers John (Jack) and Christopher (Kit) Wright, were born in the village of Welwick.

Great British Life: Cyclist Mark Beaumont at Greenwich Meridian.Cyclist Mark Beaumont at Greenwich Meridian. (Image: Markus Stitz)

Patrington has a very distinctive church and one of the best cafes along the route.

From Hedon your journey north takes you to Brandesburton and into the Tophill Low Nature Reserve. Continue from Hutton Cranswick to Skerne. From here you head into the hilly landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds.

After crossing the Driffield bypass the route follows a network of chalk gravel paths into the rolling hills of the Wolds to Kilham. The village, which lies in a narrow valley on the southern edge of the wolds, was once an important market town. Note the Rudston Monolith - at over 25 feet, it is the tallest megalith in the UK.

Reach Burton Fleming, and continue to Wold Newton. Continue on roads through Fordon, before the route climbs up a big hill and continues on bridle paths to Folkton. From Cayton to East Ayton then into the North York Moors National Park.

Follow the signposted Moor to Sea cycle network into Wykeham Forest and over Troutsdale Brow. This is one of the nicest sections of the route, with wide gravel tracks and splendid views.

Great British Life: The weekend trail takes in wolds, moors and coast. The weekend trail takes in wolds, moors and coast. (Image: Markus Stitz)

Continue into Dalby Forest and on gravel trucks to the Dalby Forest Visitors Centre, a good place to stop for food. Dalby Forest is packed with trails for gravel and mountain bikes.

Continuing mostly off-road, the route crosses continues to Lockton and Levisham. Levisham is a small village with a pub and a population of less than 100. The village was used as a filming location for ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ in 2021.

From here the route continues on Levisham Moor and drops back to the road before descending to Levisham station.

Head into Cropton Forest, passing the Mauley Cross. The Cross is named after the de Mauley family of Mulgrave Castle, who were notorious poachers and it is presumed that the cross marks their boundary of grazing rights. After rejoining a road you pass the start of Wade's Causeway, or Wheeldale Roman Road, first recorded as ‘Wade’s Causeway – a Roman Way’ on a map of 1720.

Great British Life: Mark Beaumont on a road near Goathland. Mark Beaumont on a road near Goathland. (Image: Markus Stitz)

From here the route continues over open moorland to Goathland. On the edge of the village Mallyan Spout is worth a detour on foot. Especially after heavy rain. With a vertical drop of 70 feet, Mallyan Spout is the tallest waterfall in the North York Moors.

Goathland is an idyllic village with sheep roaming the roads and an exceptionally well-stocked village shop.From Beck Hole the route drops into the beautiful Esk Valley, with three fords to cross before the village.

Grosmont is a haven for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and history buffs alike, with the meandering River Esk, running through the valley’s heart. The village is home to the NYMR's engine shed, and several railway-related buildings and structures are listed, including the 'Station Tavern' public house, the Post Office and the former horse tramway tunnel, now a pedestrian route.

After Grosmont the route crosses the river Esk again, but this time a bridge is the alternative if fording the river is not possible. From here quiet roads are followed to Egton station and on to Egton. There are several big climbs on this section of the route, and you continue on quiet roads to the A171, and continue after a short stretch on this busy road to Lythe. From here the route passes the picturesque village of Sandsend to continue into Whitby.

Whitby’s maritime heritage is commemorated by statues of the explorer Captain Cook and the whaler and scientist William Scoresby, as well as the whalebone arch that sits at the top of the West Cliff.

Great British Life: Jenny Graham at Robin Hood's BayJenny Graham at Robin Hood's Bay (Image: Markus Stitz)

From Whitby the route follows the Cinder Track to Robin Hood’s Bay, the famous old fishing village with narrow, twisting cobbled streets and alleyways. When taking a detour into the village, be aware that you will have to negotiate a 31% incline on the way back!

The Cinder Track is a picturesque coastal route from Whitby to Scarborough on the route of the old railway line, which closed in 1965. The scenery offers amazing views across the coast before you reach the village of Ravenscar.

The Cinder Track continues to Scalby, from where the North Bay Promenade takes you to Marine Drive.

The route follows the coast on Marine Drive around a rocky promontory, on which sit the ruins of Scarborough Castle, a former medieval royal fortress.

On the way back to the train station you pass the Central Tramway Company Scarborough Limited, a Victorian cliff railway built in 1881 and one of the oldest cliff railways still running in the UK.


Distance: 415 km (258 miles)

Start/Finish: Scarborough Railway Station