Paths Overview

The first thing to say is that not all paths will be suitable for all activities. Some paths naturally have steps and provision of disabled access would be impossible, and so alternate routes would be found for less able bodied. The surface type can also result in some activities (e.g scooting or wheeling) being impossible. For example, if the surface is very uneven then this severely restricts the usability. Any path intended for people getting from A to B to go about their daily business will need to be, as a minimum, compacted to allow walking, cycling, scooting and wheeling. A prime example of where this is not being upheld is the CinderTrack beyond Hawsker. We have marked existing rights of way (not complete) and cycle infrastructure on the following map.

Walking Paths

There are substantial walking paths throughout the district. You can see rights of way on the North Yorkshire Council website (not a particularly user-friendly interface). Similarly the North Yorkshire Moors National Park has a map showing a series of walks. Alltrails have a large list of trails in the Whitby area.

In terms of specific more notable walks

  • The Cleveland Way is a 109 mile route through moor and coastal areas. Read more on their website.
  • The Coast to Coast travels the 192 miles from St Bees in the Lake District across to Robin Hoods Bay following the route of Wainwright, through our area. Read more on their website.
  • A 5 mile route around Whitby entitled “Whitby and 199 steps”, starting at Whitby Abbey and created by the Youth Hostal Association.
  • An 8 mile Esk Valley route from Grosmont to Whitby. Read more on the Outdoor Active website. Note that this walk makes use of the Monks Trod paths that are dotted through our area.

Please see this page on who to report problems to regarding rights of way.

Cycling Paths

In terms of cycling infrastructure, the following map shows the currently available facilities. Namely, in terms of paths we have the “Cinder Track” (part of National Cycle Network route 1), and in terms of other infrastructure some bike stands (not secure storage) are provided typically at supermarkets and the railway station.

Public Transport Connection

Whilst it is desirable to be able to do a complete route using active travel, even using it for the first mile or so and then taking public transport is a convenient middle ground, or similarly if you aren’t doing a circular route, you may want to go out or return on public transport. Additionally, if using a bike, you want to make sure that either there is secure bike storage where you can catch public transport, or you can take your bike with you on the public transport.

In terms of rail, the area has 2 rail lines,

Northern Rail are actually very accomodating in our experience in terms of taking a bike on one of their trains, often without the need to reserve a bike space.

Bike storage is also sadly lacking at most train stations along the route. Whitby station has 6 bike stand spaces (not secure), and that is about all.

In terms of buses, we have a few Arriva (North East) routes through the area. Sadly they do not facilitate taking a bike on the bus, unless you have a folding bike. We can only hope that some of the proposals in the DfT Bus Service Improvement Plan 2024 are taken forward, such as allowing more bikes on buses especially in rural areas.

Barriers to Access

The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on local authorities to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. Accordingly, local authorities must make reasonable adjustments to ensure paths are as accessible as possible. Under Section 147 of the Highways Act 1980, the highway authority has the power to approve structures such as gates and stiles to control livestock. When approving new structures, the local authority must consider the needs of people with limited mobility and should only approve the least restrictive option necessary to control the livestock.  Stiles which have been approved by the local authority in the past can and should be replaced with a less-restrictive option. Additionally, some stone stiles in places like the North York Moors have been in place for hundreds of years, and they are protected as part of our heritage, however, constructing a gap or gate nearby will allow full access for all.  

Barriers to access can also be present for other groups, such as for prams/pushchairs, as well as different types of cycle (such as tricycles or cargo bikes). We are aware of some paths in our area that do not provide full access and we will be looking at if there is anything we can help with in overcoming these obvious barriers. Please refer to our Path Access page for details.

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