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“Freedom with caution” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Scarborough to Whitby Rail Trail

Scarborough to Whitby Rail Trail
Ranked #17 of 80 things to do in Scarborough
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
74 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Freedom with caution”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

I rode the trail with my son over Whitsun. The trail follows the old Scarborough to Whitby rail line and is popular and it is easy to see why. Two choices exist: to cycle northwards to Whitby or southwards from Whitby to Scarborough. It depends on what you plan to do i.e. complete a particular section or do the whole thing. For example some people prefer to do the section from Whitby to Hawkser around 7 miles - duration 1 hour. A lot depends on your fitness/targets as there are rewarding downhill sections butalso long gradual climbs. We planned to do the whole route to Whitby - around 22 miles (ideally stay overnight) then cycle back unfortunately accommodation in Whitby was full (advise arrange this well in advance in you plan to do this in the Spring/Summer).
We decided to do a bit of a 'Bradley Wiggins' and cycle there and back i.e. over 40 miles but fine as the weather was glorious. You can bring your own bikes though there are plenty of cycle hire companies. We hired 2 'hardtail' mountain bikes from a recommended outfit called Let's Bike (based in Scalby just outside Scarborough). The owner Pete was great he drove our bikes down and met us outside our hotel. He drove us back to Scalby to pick up the trail from there. Aside from the bikes the hire costs included a map, repair kits, spare inner tubes, locks and filled water bottles also we were given a contact number in case of assistance.
The route is superb passing through some fabulous countryside. I loved spotting the old railway stations/platforms though the highlight has to be having our packed lunch in Ravenscar on a bench on a cliff overlooking the crashing waves below also the magnificent view of Robin Hood's Bay from atop Ravenscar. The best thrill was the rewarding downhill ride from Ravenscar (after the steady climb) though CAUTION here not to get careless because it is steep you really do fly down even on MTBs. It needs to be pointed out this is a CINDER trail so MTB are essential and you have to either be an experienced and/or confident rider to ride sections of the trail as there is a fair bit of wear e.g. pot holes/protruding stones/dips, etc. I did see a couple of people riding tourers but given their narrow tyres and slick treads punctures and slips must be a certainty. I did meet one man who was walking with his bike who asked me the condition of the path were we had just cycled - he'd obviously dismounted as he was unhappy. I definitely would caution against taking young children unless they are riding specific short sections e.g. Whitby - Hawkser. At a very casual pace we reached Ravenscar for lunch in 1.5 hrs (10.5 miles) however the next stage was not so straight forward. The path deteriorated as we went along and we saw a sign warning of deterioration owing to weather i.e. rain had washed away sections of cinder. By the time we approached Robin Hood's on some sections we were bumping over the actual exposed rail sleepers! Progress had slowed to the extent I decided we couldn't do the final 6 miles to Whitby in order to start the return leg in time. We returned by road on the A171 and completed the 15 miles in 2hrs (slower MTB also some steep climbs and some dizzy drops!). I would start earlier if I did this again and definitely do the overnight Whitby stop. Definitely recommended - hope money can be found to refurbish as it is an excellent route.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank 777sirdon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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140 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“The Cinderpath, 21 miles of free entertainment !”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

The Cinder path, is the name for 21 miles of disused railway that runs between Scarborough and Whitby. Closed after the Beeching Review, the old railway is now a cycle path and is a traffic free route that provides the most scenic of views across the North Sea coast. Perfectly rideable for the full length, expect as an adult to complete this in a comfortable 2 to 3 hours. We often ride this in sections with our young family, our favourite part being the six mike stretch between Ravenscar and Robin Hoods Bay, which is really spectacular, and mainly downhill ! Whitby back to Robin Hoods Bay is a similar length and again downhill. Plenty of places for refreshments and great photo opportunities.

Visited August 2013
Thank Sean C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stranraer, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2013

As a family with 2 small children, we were looking to do the last section of the trail from Hawkser to Whitby. The idea was that we would all cycle down and then I would cycle back and bring the car back to Whitby. We didn't arrive until after 3pm and the manager of Trailways at the old station at Hawkser told us that the car park there was for his bike hiring customers only. I told him that I only wanted to leave the car for about an hour. He said he wanted £5 for this and that he'd charged people as much as £10 in the past. I was a bit shocked as it was late in the afternoon and his car park was practically empty - I wouldn't have minded a couple of quid but £5 for an hour?

It's his business so he can charge what he likes I guess but I certainly wouldn't be hiring any bikes from him with that kind of profiteering attitude.

Its a shame really as this section of the track is perfect for wee kids as its a gentle downhill all the way to Whitby, it just seems its only really accessible if you want to pay Trailways some money (even if you have your own bikes). Its a strange set up as you actually have to go through his bike shop to get access to the track.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank Rob D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“All aboard”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2013

This walk is perfection along the old railway track stop along the way I the many cafes serving home made goodies, this walk is flat easy to do fantastic views and safe for the whole family including your four legger

Visited July 2013
Thank hazel s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A rather pleasant journey through wonderful countryside and coast”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2013

It is nicknamed the "cinder track" and it is well named! Although we were all on MTB bikes (apart from one who forgot t change his "skinny tyres" on his hybrid bike!) we still managed to get 5 punctures between five riders - three of the group didn't get any!
It's a great ride via the old railway track with superb views. If you plan to do the ride both ways - only 42 miles maximum - I recommend starting earlier than we did c.11.30 am due to a little problem on the York by-pass where the bike rack decided to shed one of the bikes so we had to hire another -a long story!
It is not easy... we are experienced riders and it can be quite tough in places especially up the rise from Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar - this was on our way back - but there is a welcome recovery pint at the Ravenscar hotel at the top. The highlights are the coastal views from Ravenscar and the famous Whitby fish & chips.
If you plan a laeisurely ride over 2 days i.e. there and back it would be a really good ride for any standard of cyclist and there are many stopping points if you research via the website http://www.aucu61.dsl.pipex.com/Scarborough%20Whitby.htm
Good luck and enjoy!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank 9scrumhalf7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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