Robin Hood’s Bay

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Picturesque Robin Hood’s Bay is situated on the stunning north east coast, not far from the famous seaside resort of Whitby. It is a place where you can fossil hunt on the beach and find what remains of animals that swam the sea here more than a million years ago, or grab your bucket and spade and head to the active rock pools to discover some of the modern inhabitants. The village as we know it today was founded in the fifteenth century. During the 16th century the bay stood far greater in importance than neighbouring Whitby, though where the name came from is something of a mystery as there is no connection whatsoever to the Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest fame. It is more likely that the name was derived from the myths and folklore of the area, as there is talk of an ancient woodland spirit in the area that went by the name of Robin Goodfellow.

Photo by Tom Herbert
Photo by Tom Herbert

The north east coast is famed for smuggling and Robin Hood’s Bay was reputed to have been the largest smuggling community anywhere on the north east coast. There were even tales that goods could be brought ashore and taken into the houses without anyone having to come out onto the beach to meet a boat, as the cliffs are rife with caves and tunnels, and the cottages equipped with secret passageways and smugglers bolt holes.

Hidden Attractions

It wasn’t until the 19th century that people from outside the region started visiting the bay, but from then it has continued to attract visitors and holidaymakers every year. There are a number of things to do in the area that range from discovering about the past to exploring the modern day coast. Experience some of the region’s natural beauty by visiting the Falling Foss waterfall and Tea Garden. Take a walk through the woodlands, paddle in the beck and play Pooh Sticks on the bridge before heading to the tea garden for some well earned refreshments. The Old Coastguard Station is home to the National Trust Visitors Centre; within its walls you will discover what makes this part of the North Yorkshire coast so very special. You will learn about the smugglers that once lived here right through to the wildlife that calls the bay its home today.

Things to See and Do

The rock pools are filled with life and just waiting to be explored. Learn about the work undertaken by the National Trust Rangers and perhaps join them on a rock pool safari. On the hillside you will notice that the landscape is dominated by St Stephen’s Church. It has been a local place of worship for many a century. It may look bleak and harsh from the outside, after all it was built to withstand the weather on the coast, but inside it is still very much as it was in its heyday and the walls show memorials to those shipwrecked on the coast.

This is definitely a great place to visit if you are in North Yorkshire!

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