The combination of moors, dales, woodland and coast that make up the Cleveland Way give it a unique character. These are special landscapes.
So much so that most of the route falls within the North York Moors National Park and also along the coast the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast.
Moorland dominates the western part of the Cleveland Way. The North York Moors itself contains the largest continuous area of heather moor in England. These wild and remote moors offer far reaching views over the dales and the Vale of York. In late Summer the heather blooms to turn the moor into a stunning swathe of bright purple. You would be forgiven for thinking that such a landscape had naturally evolved. In fact the moors have been shaped by human activity, replacing the mixed deciduous woodland that was destroyed by Stone Age and then Bronze Age farmers.
There is no greater contrast to the remoteness of the Moors, than the dramatic coastline, which the Cleveland Way follows for 50 miles from Saltburn by the Sea through to Filey. This seascape is outstanding - sometimes marked by rugged cliffs, rising to 666 feet (203 metres) above sea level at Boulby - the highest point on the eastern seaboard of England. At other times marked by traditional fishing villages such as Staithes, Runswick Bay and Robin Hoods Bay, with tightly knit houses that appear to cling to the cliff edge. Here again man has played his part in shaping the landscape. For centuries the minerals in the rocks have been exploited to transform the coastal profile and to leave a rich industrial heritage.