The West Cliffs and the North York Moors

The West Cliffs and the North York Moors

The West Cliffs and the North York Moors

The West Cliffs and the North York Moors

The West Cliff is where you will see the bronze statue to Captain Cook. West Cliff is also where they built the Spa – no waters here – and the theatre; there is dancing in the Floral Pavilion and a cinema and the hotels. The Museum and Art Gallery houses a fine collection of bits and pieces of Whitby and its past, and the Lifeboat House and museum remind you of the extreme gallantry of the RNLI in this area. Whitby also has boats for hire at the harbour, a golf course, open-air and indoor swimming pools, tennis, miniature railway, as well as the famous Whitby Sands which reach for almost three miles from the pier to Sandsend.

Out on the North York Moors is a railway built by George Stephenson in the 1830s to link Whitby with the rich farming land in the Vale of Pickering. It is one of the oldest railway lines in the world and today you can start from either Grosmont or Pickering and ride the Moors Railway drawn by historic steam and diesel locomotives. At Grosmont there is a unique collection of engines and carriages. The railway operates through the National Park, which is the fourth largest in England and one which is still owned by private landowners and farmers. A new railway halt has been built in the heart of Newtondale Gorge so that you can get out and walk. Goathland is about nine miles from Whitby, high up on the moors, close to a well-preserved section of Roman road at Wheeldale and near Mallyan Spout where the beck, or stream, falls seventy feet in a single drop. Pickering is a market town with some stone houses, winding streets, castle ruins and a church. Pickering Castle has either entertained, or incarcerated, many English kings. Henry I came to hunt, Richard II was a prisoner here before he was taken to Pontefract, King John was a frequent visitor and Edward II stayed within the grey walls long before the moat was allowed to be filled with soft green grass. Much of the Norman wall still stands but, in the main, it is ruins which rise out above the surrounding ash and sycamore trees in a forlorn, decayed way. There is little more than the outer wall and lower parts of the shell left of this, once grand, castle. Pickering church has some murals, or wall paintings, which fill the north and south walls of the nave and some American memorials. The first is to Robert King and his son, Nicholas, who went to Washington as surveyors to help plan the city. Underneath that are two more memorial brass plates which commemorate the Anglo-American Alliance of 2015 and Ambassador W.H. Page, and another to the American Ambassador to London, J.H. Choate. A piece of old panelling remembers Henry Ware Clarke, an American of Yorkshire descent, who was killed in World War I, and nearby is an American flag brought here by a New York rector who came and preached in the church.