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Staithes and Port Mulgrave photo by Mike Kipling

Staithes and Port Mulgrave

Get some sea air on this 4-mile circular walk, starting at the atmospheric old fishing village of Staithes, with its harbourside cottages, cobbled streets and winding alleys. Leave the sheltered harbour and follow the Cleveland Way National Trail for the first half of the walk, tramping across the high cliffs to Port Mulgrave and enjoying wonderful coastal views. The return is across fields and through woodland, via the small hamlet of Dalehouse.

Walk info

Great for:
coastal capers, history buffs, big-sky views
4 miles (6.4km)
2 hours 30 minutes
Staithes car park – NB, don’t drive down into the old village
Grid Ref:
NZ 781 185
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL27
Staithes and Dalehouse
Start/Finish of walk
GPX file, MMO file

About this walk

WalkThe walk follows quiet lanes and paths through fields, woodland and along the cliffs. It's a steep climb from Staithes harbour up to the cliff top, and there's a descent/ascent (including steps) in the woods. You'll also encounter several gates en route. The walk crosses the busy A174 twice – be careful when crossing.

DogsThe clifftop section is unfenced on the seaward side with a steep drop – keep your dog on a short lead for safety on this part of the walk. There may be stock in the last field before point 4, and also between points 7 and 9. Please keep your dog on a short lead where livestock are present.

Fishing at Staithes

Staithes might be well known to visitors and tourists today, but it owes its existence to the fishing industry which, in its heyday, employed 300 men and supported 120 boats. The women played an active part in the work, helping with repairing nets, baiting hooks and launching boats. When the railway opened in 1885, three trains per week transported Staithes fish to British cities. At the turn of the twentieth century steam trawlers from larger ports killed the locals' livelihood, until only one full-time fisherman remained in the village.

However, in recent years fishing has revived its fortunes in Staithes (particularly lobster fishing) and the seafaring tradition is still strong, with traditional flat-bottomed, high-bowed boats called 'cobles' still setting out from the harbour, as they have for centuries.

Port Mulgrave

There's a different reason for the existence of Port Mulgrave – ironstone mining, which transformed this part of the coast in the mid-nineteenth century. There were ironstone seams in the coastal rocks, and also inland at nearby Grinkle, and the sheltered bay made a good harbour for boats coming to ship the ironstone out to Jarrow. The industry is long gone, and little remains of the harbour, but the shoreline at Port Mulgrave stands as a reminder of the industry that once characterised this coast.