When Victorian developers planned a new Yorkshire resort they fixed upon Ravenscar, with its coastal train line, bracing air and sweeping views. Except for a few streets and buildings the resort was never completed - hence the tag 'The Town That Never Was' - and the railway line finally closed in the 1960s. What remains is a dramatic headland with a clifttop hotel, amazing views in all directions, and several excellent local walking and cycling routes.
Things to see and do
The original settlement here was known as Peak and was a simple farming hamlet. In the 17th century industry came to the coast as alum - used as a fixative for dyes in the textile industry - began to be extracted from the shale. At its height in the 18th century the Peak Alum Works was a huge operation, and the fascinating remains of the quarries, shale tips and factory buildings can still be seen. Follow the Cleveland Way signs (towards Robin Hood's Bay) to find the National Trust site.
Ravencar was also the site of a World War II radar station, part of a coastal defence system established in 1941. The remains lie just south of the old station, along the Cinder Track.
Fylingdales Moor, above Ravenscar, is a beautiful conservation area. It's a haven for wildlife, particularly birds of prey such as the merlin, the UK's smallest raptor, and also conceals Bronze Age archeological remains. Download our 4-mile circular route for a superb moorland walk which starts by the transmitter mast above Ravenscar. You may also catch a fleeting glimpse of the merlin on the Jugger Howe nature trail nearby.
You might also spot the colony of seals, particularly in June and July when common seals come ashore to pup, while in November it’s the turn of the grey seals. Please watch from a distance without disturbing the seals.
Walks and cycle rides
The former Scarborough to Whitby railway line - closed in 1965 - is now a 21-mile walking and cycling track known as the Cinder Track. It passes through Ravenscar, offering easy rides south to Cloughton and Hayburn Wyke or north to Robin Hood's Bay.