Exploring the Trail
How long does it take to complete the Trail?
The Trail is 109 mile (175 km) long. The official guidebook recommends a nine day trip. You might want to take a little longer if you want to see more of the interesting places along the way.
How hard is it?
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Cleveland Way. The route is challenging in places, especially the coastal sections, which adds to the overall experience. Whilst the route is well signed throughout, an up to date map or GPS mapping is essential.
In winter the coastal sections can get very muddy, making it even more challenging and not always the best experience!
Are there any major diversions on the route?
A result of an extremely wet winter is that there is still one diversion in place due to coastal erosion and path slippage.
There is a diversion on the former railway line at Sandsend which involves a trek up to the cliff top and back. Details of this diversion are available here
Top Tips for Enjoying the Trail
How do I get to the Cleveland Way?
Rail services connect to York, Malton, Thirsk, Middlesbrough, Great Ayton, Whitby, Scarborough and Filey. In addition bus services can get you to the start at Helmsley from York, Malton or Scarborough.
For rail information please see www.nationalrail.co.uk
If arriving at Hull using North Sea Ferries you can catch a bus from King George Dock to the Paragon Interchange where you can pick up train, bus and coach services. Catch a train to Scarborough and then take the 128 bus from Scarborough to Helmsley.
On finishing the Trail you can catch either a bus or train directly from Filey back to Hull.
If you are arriving by plane to Leeds Bradford, Manchester or Newcastle airport it’s best to journey to York by train and then catch the daily bus through to Helmsley.
You can find up-to-date public transport information including a journey planner at www.traveline.info
Where can I stay on the Trail?
There is a good choice of accommodation close to the Trail and it can be viewed on the Interactive Map below or as an online list here
There are also the downloadable Accommodation & Information Guides for the Cleveland Way which are very useful and can be found on the Leaflets page.
The area is popular and accommodation can book up quickly in peak season. We recommend that you book it well in advance. If you are planning on walking the whole trail you might want to consider offsetting your days – so that you start on a Monday or Tuesday for example, or consider walking it in the less common direction – from Filey to Helmsley.
Can I camp along the Trail?
There are plenty of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed on the Interactive Map. If you plan to camp please note it is not legal to wild camp in England or Wales – you will need to stay on official campsites.
Download the Camping Accommodation & Information Guide for full details, available from the Leaflets page.
Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?
There are several companies that will arrange to move your bags for you, help you plan your trip, or arrange a full package.
View a list of these companies here.
What is the best time of year to walk on the Trail?
The Cleveland Way can be walked right through the year. If you want to see the moorland heather in bloom, then this takes place in late August and early September.
Given how muddy the coastal path can get during winter, for a better experience it is best enjoyed from Spring though to Autumn.
Which direction should I walk it in?
Most people walk the route from Helmsley through to Filey in a clockwise direction. This way you are likely to have the wind on your back for more of the time and most of the guidebooks are written this way. But there is no right or wrong way – plenty of people enjoy walking it in the other direction. If you are finding it hard to book accommodation you might want to walk the Trail in the less common direction – from Filey to Helmsley.
What should I take with me?
We recommend that you take a map and/or guidebook with you, or a copy of the walk leaflet if you are doing a shorter walk. You may also find a compass useful.
If you are walking solo you may want to tell somewhere where you are going as there can be mobile black spots along the Trail. Ensure your phone is fully charged before setting off.
Weather in the UK can be changeable so it’s wise to be prepared. You’ll need good footwear, waterproofs and warm layers. Take plenty of water and just in case, pack a few plasters for your feet. In the summer you may need sun cream.
Will I have mobile phone and internet access?
Phone reception can be patchy along the Trail, don’t rely on being able to use your phone to help you navigate. Wi-Fi is available at some accommodation and pubs/cafés along the route.
Is there signage on the Cleveland Way?
The UK is unique in having a network of paths that the public can use, this is the Public Rights of Way network. You can see these paths on Ordnance Survey maps.
National Trails are signed with an acorn symbol and/or the Trail name which you will see on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails.
As you are walking along the Trail you will also see waymarkers pointing to other paths. You can use the public rights of way network to leave the Trail to explore places of interest, reach your accommodation and find places to eat and drink.
You will often find a coloured arrow on signs which indicates the status of that section of path. The most common are yellow arrows which are footpaths and blue which are bridleways.
Can I download a GPX file?
What is the fastest time to complete the Cleveland Way?
The fastest time to complete the trail is 19 hours, 45 minutes and 49 seconds. This was achieved at the Hardmoors 110 Ultrarace 2020 by Jacob Snochowski of Ambleside Athletic Club
Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the Cleveland Way.
Circular and Linear Walks
There are some great walks to enjoy along parts of the Cleveland Way, which will give you a taste of the wonderful moorland and coastal landscapes of the North York Moors. Find the perfect walk for you in the Further Information section.
Leaflets, Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise
Can I get a guidebook and map for the Trail?
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the The Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
Which Ordnance Survey maps cover the Trail?
You can find a list of Ordnance Survey maps for the Trail here.
Can I get a certificate if I complete the Trail?
Are there any useful Trail Leaflets?
There are a wide range of useful leaflets to download, such as the Accommodation & Information Guides. Find these in the Further Information section.
Is there an Accommodation Guide for the Trail?
The Accommodation & Information Guide for the Cleveland Way is produced every 2 years. There is a version for Hotels and B&Bs and a separate one for Camping. It can be found to download here