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Littlebeck and Hawsker

Explore the back roads, country lanes and woodland tracks between the valley hamlet of Littlebeck and the old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby, now known as the ‘Cinder Track’. There are sweeping views from up on Sneaton Moor, before an exhilarating freewheel down into Hawsker and on to the railway line. After that, the route works its way through Sneaton (ice cream alert at Beacon Farm!), before dropping down into the woods and along the valley, circling back to Littlebeck. It’s a challenge in parts – there’s no shame in pushing up the hills or walking through the woods! – but it’s a great introduction to the farm and valley landscapes of this quiet corner south of Whitby.

Cycle route info

Route type:
Explorer route
12½ miles (20km)
3 hours
Start point:
Littlebeck Village Hall car park
Cycle hire
Grid Ref:
NZ 880 052
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL27
Pubs at Hawsker and Stainsacre, and café at Beacon Farm, Sneaton. Whitby lies just across Larpool viaduct
GPX file, MMO file

About this cycle route

Explorer route, for mountain bikes and hybrids.

A large part of the route is on country roads and well-made stone tracks, though there are some woodland sections where it might be muddy. You should also take care on the Monk’s Walk stone trods through the woods en route to Sneaton – it’s easier to push.

Some very steep hills (including right at the beginning, leaving Littlebeck) might mean more pushing along the way, but there is also some nice, easy cycling on the Cinder Track, the old railway line – the section from Hawsker to the viaduct is a real delight.

Hiring a bike? Start the route at Trailways in Hawsker (A171) instead.

Route highlights!

*Take a ride across the mighty Larpool viaduct, high above the River Esk
*Follow ancient footsteps along the woodland stone trods of Monk’s Walk
*Choose your favourite flavour ice cream at Sneaton’s Beacon Farm
*Splash feet (and tyres!) in the babbling waters of Little Beck

Littlebeck’s Gnome Man

Littlebeck used to be the home of the oak craftsman and woodcarver Thomas Whitaker, who included a gnome lurking on all his carvings – keep an eye out for them! According to German folklore each time an acorn germinates, a gnome is born, who acts as the oak’s guardian and spirit, living as long as the tree does.

The ‘Gnome Man’ chiselled away in his Littlebeck workshop for almost 50 years, building an international reputation for his work. The old workshop still stands, as does The Old Woodcarver’s Cottage, once an inn, in which Thomas Whitaker lived from 1944 until his death in 1991.