North Landing - Thornwick - Flamborough

A local walk around the area providing lovely scenery and gentle exercise.

 
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North Landing - Thornwick - Flamborough

There is a choice of two circular walks here, both starting at the picturesque inlet of North Landing.

Start/finish: North Landing
Grade: Moderate
Length type: Medium
Length miles (kilometres): 4 (6)
OS Explorer map: 301

There has been a lifeboat station protecting the water around cliffs since 1871 and the boards inside tell of lives saved, and lost. Although launching the boat today can still be dangerous, try to picture it not all that long ago, when it was an open boat and rowed through the heavy swell, the volunteers clad only in oilskins with a cork life-belt for safety.

Although only a few cobbles sail from here today, at one time there were 80. The catch was landed on the beach and auctioned, the buyers giving their own nods and winks. It was then taken up the cliff by donkeys and packed into boxes or barrels before transportation to Hull by train. Many local people still remember this and will always tell you their story. The boats were hauled up the slipway and old photos depict a busy and colourful sight, now sadly gone.

Rock pools are exposed at low tide and are a delight for young children, if not the crabs! Several large caves can be explored but be careful and make sure you know where your children are.

The tide comes in the caves from behind and ,as the rocks shelves upwards from the beach, many people are cut off every year. Some have drowned! It is not advisable to explore the rocks at the western side of the cove as this is where most people get cut off. It is also where the rock falls are.

In the book Mary Anerley, written by R. D. Blackmore of 'Lorna Doone' fame, Robin Lythe is mentioned. The book tells of smuggling exploits in this part of England, and looking down on this secluded cove away from the village, it is not hard to imagine. Tea, brandy, tobacco, silk and cotton ware all smuggled in at one time and one typical tale is that of a ship moored of the headland signaling that a man on board had died. A coffin was sent out and duly returned. A solemn procession was led through the village, watched over by the preventive men (Customs), and the coffin left overnight for burial the next day. It was buried, but then full of stones instead of........? Some of the older cottages are said to have hidden cupboards that defied the searches of the Customs men.

From North Landing, follow the cliff top path across the inlet known as Holmes Gut. Many of the caves can be seen from here, as can a small brick construction set near the top of the cliff. This was a gunpowder store for the two forty pounder guns once kept at Flamborough for the defence of the area.

Thornwick Bay is soon reached and from the cafe fine views of three large caves can be seen. They are Smugglers Cave, the largest on the east coast of England, Church Cave and ThornWick Cave. The large bay is Thomwick Bay and the small one, Little Thornwick Bay. (Thor was the Danish God of thunder and it is named after him). You can walk between them at low tide and a natural amphitheatre exists with many rock pools awaiting exploration. These are a delight for young children, if not for the crabs. The next bay is Chatterthrow Bay. Beware. The only entrance and exit is through the large rock arch. You can't climb up the cliff and you will be stranded until the tide goes out again if you are not careful.

You may return along the cliff top path or the road from the cafe or continue along the high cliffs until a field footpath is reached leading southwards to Flamborough village, where you follow the road to return to North Landing.

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