Cycle the Cinder Track | A wonderful off road adventure

Pointing the way
Pointing the way
Larpool viaduct
Larpool viaduct
Why cycle the Cinder Track?

The Cinder Track is a disused railway line that runs for twenty one miles between Scarborough and Whitby.  The line it’s self was in use between 1885 and 1965.  Its called the cinder track due to the cinders that where used as ballast to run the rails on.  The rails have gone now and also most of the cinders.  The route is in various states of repair, some parts have been renovated and have a road like surface other areas can be very muddy with plenty of puddles to dodge.  Some areas still carry the cinders the track is named for.  It’s a fantastic safe off road route for walkers and cyclists alike.

You can choose to do as much of the track or as little as you feel capable.  Our route went from the Abbey at Whitby to Ravenscar. We then left the bikes at the visitors centre and walked down to the bay to see the Seals.  We firstly though went the other way down the track to visit the grade two listed thirteen arch Larpool viaduct.

The route is very well signposted and is easily navigated.  There are many options for rest and refuelling in the towns and villages along the way.

Larpool viaduct from the river Esk
Larpool viaduct from the river Esk
Through one of the many bridges
Through one of the many bridges
Where is the Cinder Track?

As stated above the track runs from Scarborough to Whitby or visa versa.  We were camping very close to Whitby Abbey so we didn’t need to find parking.  The abbey does have a very large carpark and would be a great place to park if you want to emulate our route.  If you want to do the whole route you will need to cycle back as well as there are no public transport options for you and your bike between the two towns.  So make sure you can manage the forty two miles of bone shaking track.

Our route on the Cinder Track

Our route starts from Whitby Abbey. It follows the road, from the Abbey, down to the cinder track.  We joined the track at the bottom of Hawsker Lane and turned right on the Cinder Track which was just behind the cycle hire place. Trailways cycle hire is a company that’s made use of an old station building and some carriages and somewhere you can hire a bike if you don’t have one with you.  

The Larpool Viaduct

After turning right we made our way along the track in the direction of Whitby to see the Larpool viaduct which was something we really wanted to see.  The Cinder Track goes right over the top.  We had a peek down the side to see if we could see it all but the views weren’t great and we said we’d come back tomorrow and see it from the bottom.  There’s a walk from Whitby harbour car park that takes you right under the Viaduct.

Ravenscar Cove
Ravenscar Cove
The walk down to the shore
The walk down to the shore
Robin Hoods Bay

After a quick look around we cycled back following the cinder track in the direction of Scarborough.   It was a beautiful day and as we left Whitby the track followed the coast quite closely and before long we were descending into Robin Hoods bay. Here you’ll find a lovely quaint little fishing village but we only stopped for a quick pit stop before continuing on towards Scarborough.  If you want you can head down the steep path into the village where there are shops, pubs, cafes and the shoreline to explore but our mission today was to keep to the cycle track. 

At Robin Hoods Bay,  you cross the main road to pick up the Cinder Track again there’s a post office and general store just round the corner on the left.   Ahead, in the main car park, there are toilets.  The Cinder Track picks up again after the car park.

Ravenscar

We were now heading towards Ravenscar and this was the toughest part of the route.  Much of it gently sloping upwards and some parts muddy and really rocky however the views that appeared of Robins Hood bay and the coast were superb. 

Ravenscar was our next port of call and we stopped off here for two reasons.  One was to grab a bit of lunch the second was to take a walk down to the shoreline to see the seals. 

There is a National Trust centre in Ravenscar which has a coffee/tea machine.   A cafe, Ravenscar Tearooms, about 600m further on along the road and the Raven Hall Hotel and Golf resort down a track towards the cliffs.   This was where we stopped for some lunch it was delicious.  Sitting on the lawn with the sun shining and the breeze coming off the sea.  It was lovely. 

Fossil Hunting

After lunch we walked down to the beach area, well its not so much of a beach but a rocky shoreline.   The seals were down here and there were a few people that were venturing down too. 

It was quite a steep and rocky walk down to the shoreline.  I would say its not advisable for pushchairs or people who had difficulty walking but it is worth the trip down.   There are boards telling you how to protect the seals and how not to disturb them.   The rule of thumb seemed to be, keep quiet and keep your distance and most of all keep your dog on a lead. 

Once there you can see the seals laying on the flat rocks and the shoreline is quite impressive.   Another thing that this particular shore is known for is its ammonite fossils. Lynne was lucky enough to find a bullet shaped fossil which was identified as a fossilised squid from millions of years ago. 

In the heat of the afternoon we decided that we wouldn’t venture any further along the Cinder Track but make our way back to Robin Hoods Bay and then back to Whitby. 

Next time we’ll make it to Scarborough or at least do the Ravenscar to Scarborough leg so we can report the whole length. 

Stunning view from the track
Stunning view from the track
Cycling on the cinder track
Cycling on the cinder track
Route map and GPX

Including the Larpool viaduct and the walk down to Ravenscar Cove.

Download file for GPS
Refreshments

In every town along the route theres opportunity for rest and refreshment. We took drinks with us. We choose to have lunch at Ravenscar before we walked down to see the seals. When we got back we had a drink at the micro brewery right next to the Abby.

Where to stay

If your planning to make a weekend of it or may be a little longer there are plenty of accommodation options for all budgets.  Campsites, B&B’s, Pubs with rooms and the odd luxury Hotel. Click Here for some options

What next

The area around Whitby has an amazing variation of things to do. You can explore the town itself or perhaps take a walk on the cliffs . The Cleveland Way passes through Whitby.  There’s Whitby Abbey, the Whitby Jet Museum, boat trips  and loads of cafe’s and restaurants to suit everyone.   You can read more about Whitby and how to spend the best weekend there in our All about Whitby blog post (coming soon) 

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