Tales from the Trail....and now the end (or beginning) is near ……

18th May 2016

Here Trail Reporter Dave recounts his Filey Brigg experience.

Whichever way you approach it, Filey Brigg is either the end or the beginning.  The point on the map where two of England's finest national trails, the Cleveland Way, and the Yorkshire Wolds Way meet.

Walkers, who choose the Brigg as the end of their walk, will have been following the Cleveland Way from the north, their heads and legs full of mighty North York Moors and the rollercoaster ride down the North Sea coast. Those approaching from the south will be full of discovered surprises from their trek up from the banks of the River Humber, through the sublime chalk-land landscapes of the Yorkshire Wolds Way. 

Whichever way they come, once the iconic trail marker stone comes into view, not many walkers will be focusing upon the wonderful environment that is Filey Brigg, and even fewer will take the time to enjoy and explore this place. They are missing a treat.

I recently spent some time with Mark Pearson, Communications Officer for Filey Bird Observatory and Group . As we walked together around the Brigg, Mark’s enthusiasm for the area was infectious. He told me about the geography and geology, its history, and the flora and fauna. He opened my eyes to what a special place this is.

 As we walked and talked, his passion for birds was obvious, scanning and viewing the area through his binoculars as we went. He told me about the very rare Surf Scoter, a sea duck from North America that he discovered off the Brigg before Christmas. Since then, hundreds of bird watchers from all over the country have been to see this bird that obviously liked this place and decided to stay.

He told me about the seabird colony on the cliffs just beside the Cleveland Way. Filey’s ‘Seabird City’ comes alive between April and August. Birds arrive to breed and the population explodes; Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins, Cormorants and Fulmars, all looking for prime nesting places. He wondered just how many walkers even think to peer over the cliffs at this spectacle.

We stared out over the majestic rock formation, as the whole promontory revealed itself on the falling tide, arrow-like into the North Sea. We chatted about all things ‘Brigg’ related. About the butterflies and wildflowers, about the discovery of an ancient Roman signal station, about the ‘Rocket Pole Field’ which really does seem to have a Rocket standing in the middle of it!

As the rain rolled in our grandstand location lost the view, and brought our afternoon to an end. We didn’t have time to talk about the magnificent Filey Bay, the interesting seaside town of Filey, the cliffs at Bempton and Flamborough Head beyond, and all the other reasons why you should linger and enjoy this fine area. Do take some time before or after your walk to explore, you will not be disappointed. 

I left Mark heading back out along the Brigg into the murk, off to count some more seabirds he said…….

My thanks also go to Joanne Cammish of Filey. Her enthusiasm for this beautiful place is reflected in her photographs which illustrate my words so well.

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Filey Brigg - Dave Greenwood
Fileys Rocket Pole - Dave Greenwood
The Rocket Post - Dave Greenwood
Bird watcher - Tessa Bunney/ Natural England