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Walking in Mulgrave Woods

  • Jack Barber

Mulgrave woods is privately-owned woodland near Sandsend. It runs inland, running along the valley which lies below the village of Lythe. The woodland is owned and managed by Muglrave Estate. They have created a network of footpaths and trails within the woods. These paths provide plenty of options for walks – from a leisurely amble to a lengthier circular walk.

If you’re heading to Mulgrave Woods for the first time, we’d recommend parking in Sandsend. The woods are accessed via the small car park nex to Fish Cottage. Please be aware that they’re only open to the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The woods are closed entirely throughout May.

To The Woodsman’s Hut

Following the track from the car park, the path leads uphill. To your left you’ll see a stream which runs down from the woodland to the sea. Before long you’ll pass through the timber processing area. Here Mulgrave Estate process logs for firewood and other uses. Beware of any vehicles which might be moving around and do not climb on the piles of logs!

The path curves to the right, heading more steeply uphill, past a house. Depending on the time of year there’ll be more or less leaf cover. Look out for wildlife – Mulgrave Woods is a haven for all kinds of woodland creatures.

In the spring this part of the woods is littered with primroses. Their bright yellow flowers bringing some vibrant colour to the woodland.

The path continues uphill and you’ll find yourselves in a clearing. There’s a large grassy area to the right and the left. Make use of the bench – it affords a wonderful view across the valley to the woodland on the other side. The Woodman’s Hut is behind the bench – on the other side of the path.

From here you can simply turn around and head back the way you came. Or, if you want to go further continue along the path.

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The White Bridge

The path forks at the Woodsman’s Hut. To make you way to the stream and the white bridge, take the left hand path. It begins to head downhill, and you’ll soon find yourselves hearing the sound of water again.

Keep following the path and you’ll see the bridge, crossing the stream to the right. This is a fantastic location for bird watching. Heron are often spotted down here.

If you cross the bridge you’ll find an open area of grassland on the left of the path. This is a great picnic spot – a place to sit and relax. You’re a long way from any main roads at this point, so enjoy the peace and quiet!

Again, at this point you may want to turn around and head back the way you came. Alternatively, from the far side of the bridge you could head up the track. If you do, you’ll meet a lane where the woods end. Follow the lane to the left, you’ll soon be in the village of Dunsley and from there you can make your way back to Sandsend. We’ll tackle this route in more detail in another post.

Mulgrave Castle

If you pass the bridge, with your back to Sandsend and the stream on your left, the path begins to head uphill again. Before too long you’ll see some little signposts to the castle. This is the original Mulgrave Castle, now ruins. The newer property which is the home of the Marquis & Marchioness of Normanby is situated in Lythe.

It’s definitely worth a detour off the main track to find the romantic ruins of this once grand house. There’s anough of the old castle left to get a feel for the style and size of the property.

You’ll also enjoy some wonderful views across the valley to the ‘new’ Mulgrave Castle. Depending on the time of day and year you might even see deer in the fields. With the lack of roads and buildings, the deer enjoy the safety of the countryside.

From the ruins of the old Mulgrave Castle you can return along the same paths, or create a circular route.

Circular Route

Finding your way back onto the main track, head a bit further inland. You’ll soon see a track slightly higher than the one you’re on. Join this path and head back towards the see.

You’ll pass the castle ruins again, this time on the far side. After the castle a track will lead up to the left, keep to the right. You’ll probably see the tracks to the right, the footpaths you walked on your way to the castle. If you like you can rejoin these paths at this point.

Fortunately, it’s very difficult to get lost in Mulgrave Woods. The tracks mostly run parallel to each other. And, if you’re heading towards the sea, you’ll soon be back in Sandsend whichever route you take.

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Wheelchairs, Prams and Bikes

The tracks through Mulgrave Woods are well-maintained and wide. They’re generally dry (although some get a bit boggy in wet conditions). Because of their width, Mulgrave is a good option for a ‘socially distanced’ walk. It’s also a good place to take children with small bikes and it’s pram and wheelchair friendly too.

Food & Drink

Whilst there are no businesses within the woods, there’s plenty of choice in Sandsend. You’ll find Tides Cafe right on the beach, serving drinks and hand-made pizza. There’s also Sandside Cafe who do a great crab sandwich, if that’s your thing. The Hart Inn is a popular pub which also serves good food. Estbek House has a fantastic reputation – it’s a cosy restaurant with an emphasis on local produce. Sandsend also has a village store, and another cafe near the large car park at the bottom of Lythe Bank. Called ‘Wits End’, it has inside and outside seating and is a very popular option.

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