The Cleveland Way traveller will come across an astonishing amount of historical sites and landscapes as they journey along the National Trail.
High on the moors the shapes of stone and bronze age burial sites can still be seen. Along the coast are the sites of the Roman signal stations. These watchtowers sent signals by smoke or beacon to warn against enemies approaching from the sea. There is a wealth of Abbeys and Castles along the Way. Within the first few miles alone you will have passed Helmsley Castle and the incredible ruins of the 800 year old Rievaulx Abbey. You will follow in some places ancient routes, including the Hambleton Drove Road along which Scottish Drovers brought their cattle through to various markets as far south as London.
Mines, moors and sea
As you stand on top of the moors surveying the wild and tranquil moorland landscape, you may find it hard to believe that these moors also hold an industrial past. In fact the most remote point on the Cleveland Way at Blowarth Crossing marks the junction of an old road and a former railway, bringing ironstone mined out of the moors to feed the blast furnaces of Teeside and Durham. Alum - for fixing Dye- and Jet - for jewellery- were also mined along the moors and coast. The coastal villages also have tales to tell. In the 18th Century smuggling was a profitable business along the Yorkshire coast, the fishing villages provided ideal landing spots for illicit cargo. The premium illegal trade was in tea, spirits, salt and lace.
Captain James Cook
Along the Way you will be reminded of one of the regions most famous sons, the explorer Captain James Cook. The young James Cook went to school in Great Ayton and grew up in the shadow of Roseberry Topping. Memories of Captain Cook are also found in Staithes and also at Whitby from where he first set sail in 1747 and from where as a Royal Navy Officer he had his famous ships, Endeavour, Resolution, Discovery and Adventure built.