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E12 - North Landing - Thornwick - Flamborough
Walk Name
North Landing - Thornwick - Flamborough
Choose from two circular walks, both of which start at the picturesque inlet of North Landing.
Circular Walk
Walk Type
  • Coast and Beach Walks
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map
Car Parking Facility
North Landing or Thornwick Bay
Café and bar in North Landing
Public Conveniences
Flamborough, North Landing
Distance (Miles)
Distance (Kilometres)
Lengthened Distance (Miles)
Shortened Distance (Miles)
  • From North Landing, follow the cliff top path across the inlet known as Holmes Gut.  You can see many of the caves from here, along with a small brick construction set near the top of the cliff.  This was a gunpowder store for the two forty pounder guns once kept at Flamborough for the defence of the area.
  • You soon reach Thornwick Bay.  From the cafe enjoy fine views of the three large caves: Smugglers Cave, the largest on the east coast of England, Church Cave and ThornWick Cave.  The large bay is Thomwick Bay and the small one is Little Thornwick Bay.  (Thor was the Danish God of thunder and it is named after him). 
  • You can walk between the bays at low tide.  Indeed, a natural amphitheatre exists, with many rock pools waiting to be explored. These are a delight for young children, if not for the crabs! 
  • The next bay is Chatterthrow Bay.  Beware: the only entrance and exit is through the large rock arch.  You cannot climb up the cliff and you will be stranded until the tide goes out again if you are not careful.
  • You may return along the cliff top path or the road from the cafe.  Alternatively, continue along the high cliffs until you reach a field footpath leading southwards to Flamborough village.  From the village take the road leading back to North Landing.
Start Point
North Landing
End Point
North Landing
Towns & Villages
Bempton, Flamborough and Marton
Start Easting
Start Northing
End Easting
End Northing
Further Information
Features of Interest
-  There has been a lifeboat station protecting the water around the cliffs since 1871 and the boards inside tell of lives saved and lost.  Although launching the boat today can still be dangerous, try to picture it not all that long ago when it was an open boat and rowed through the heavy swell, the volunteers clad only in oilskins with a cork life-belt for safety.  Although only a few cobbles sail from here today, at one time there were 80.  The catch was landed on the beach and auctioned, the buyers giving their own nods and winks.  It was then taken up the cliff by donkeys and packed into boxes or barrels before being transported to Hull by train.  Many local people still remember this and will always tell you their story.  The boats were hauled up the slipway and old photos depict a busy and colourful sight, now sadly gone.   
-  Rock pools are exposed at low tide and are a delight for young children, if not for crabs!  Several large caves can be explored but be careful and make sure that you know where your children are.  The tide comes in the caves from behind and, as the rocks shelve upwards from the beach, many people are cut off every year.  Sadly some people have drowned.  It is not advisable to explore the rocks at the western side of the cove as this is where most people get cut off and rock falls occur. 
-  Robin Lythe is mentioned in the book 'Mary Anerley', written by R. D. Blackmore of 'Lorna Doone' fame.  The book tells of smuggling exploits in this part of England, and they are easy to imagine as you view this secluded cove away from the village.  Tea, brandy, tobacco, silk and cotton ware all smuggled in at one time.  A typical tale is that of a ship moored off the headland signalling that a man on board had died.  A coffin was sent out and duly returned.  A solemn procession was led through the village, watched over by the preventive men (Customs), and the coffin left overnight for burial the next day.  It was buried, but then full of stones instead of........? Some of the older cottages are said to have hidden cupboards that defied the searches of the Customs men. 
Accessibility Information
This route:- 
-  contains some steep slopes. 
-  contains a mixture of stiles, steps and gates. 
-  may involve walking through fields with livestock. 
-  crosses at least one road. 
-  contains surfaces which can be boggy in wet weather. 
-  contains some uneven surfaces. 
Additional Information
-  Please take extreme care if you explore the bays.  It is easy to get cut off by tides, and sadly people have drowned in recent years.