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Runswick Bay by credit Mike Kipling

Runswick Bay

Take a pleasant 2-mile linear walk along the Runswick Bay clifftop to enjoy wide views over Runswick Bay and Port Mulgrave. It’s an easy access walk that doesn’t descend to the village of Runswick Bay itself, but instead follows the Cleveland Way National Trail as it heads north towards Staithes. The view at the turn-around point of the walk is of the remains of the harbour at Port Mulgrave, which was opened in 1856 to ship iron ore from nearby mines to the furnaces of the northeast. Today, it’s hard to imagine how industrial this area once was – the only sound you’ll hear on the walk is the cry of seabirds and the rustle of the sea breeze in the gorse bushes.

Walk info

Great for:
easy access, coastal capers
2 miles (3.2km)
1 hour
Upper car park, Runswick Bay
Grid Ref:
NZ 808 162
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL27
Runswick Bay
Runswick Bay

About this walk

The walk follows a mostly level grass/earth surface through fields along the cliff edge. There’s one kissing gate en route, and while there are some shallow steps at one point, an alternative path avoids the steps.

It’s advisable to keep your dog on a lead on the unfenced clifftop sections of the route.

Route credits
Thanks to the Cleveland Way National Trail, who devised and produced the route and downloadable guide. For more information about the Cleveland Way, visit the website.

Exploring Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay has one of the few sandy bays along the coast, and it’s also well worth taking time to visit the charming village and its tightly packed houses, pocket-sized gardens and surprise views.

The red-roofed houses are now much altered, but many were once lived in by herring fishermen and their families. They grew vegetables in the tiny gardens, stored fish in the herring houses (on the site of today’s car park) and mended their nets by the slipway. Twenty boats or more worked out of Runswick Bay in the 1840s – but a century later, the industry was gone. Seek out the thatched cottage on the harbourfront (once the coastguard’s house) and the tiny Methodist Chapel (now a private house) in the village centre.

Runswick Bay was originally sited a bit further north, but on one tragic night in 1664 after a ground-slip, the entire village slipped into the sea. The village was rebuilt, but winter storms and heavy seas continued to take their toll. It’s not too fanciful to imagine the village houses huddling together for protection – while sturdy sea walls and defensive boulder piles have been added in modern times to prevent further damage.