Walkers mark 50th anniversary of coastal and moors trail - Cleveland Way

Walkers marked the occasion
Walkers marked the occasion

Half a century ago the 109-mile Cleveland Way National Trail was launched.

The trail, which runs in a horseshoe loop across the North York Moors National Park from Helmsley to Saltburn before following the coastline down to Filey Brigg, has since been enjoyed by millions of people from hikers and runners through to artists, stargazers and bird watchers.

To mark the 50th anniversary on May 24 more than 150 walkers retraced the steps of the early walkers by striding out along a three-mile stretch of the trail, aptly known as the Pilgrim’s Walk, from YHA Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey.

Leading the group were apprentices from the North York Moors National Park kitted out in 1960s walking gear, including plus fours, thick socks and carrying bulky canvas rucksacks – a world away from today’s lightweight hiking equipment.

WATCH video about the Cleveland Way here
The event celebrated those early years back in the 1930s when the YHA (England and Wales) first mooted the idea of a long distance path linking the Hambleton Drove Road, the Cleveland escarpment and the coastal footpaths.

From 1953 when the National Parks Commission and local authorities first proposed the creation of a route to the North Riding County Council it took a further 16 years before the Cleveland Way came into existence.

Since then the National Trail, which is managed through the Cleveland Way Partnership by the North York Moors National Park Authority and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, has become one of the UK’s rural treasures, carving out its own history while also providing the backdrop for many other events including.