Britain’s best walk? The Cleveland Way has to be a contender

There are hundreds of real beauties but Kevin Rushby has a soft spot for the ‘sustained glory’ of this North York Moors classic, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year

What is the most spectacular walk in Britain? The ridges of Helvellyn, Snowdon or the Cuillins? Perhaps parts of the South West or the Pembrokeshire Coast Paths? All are great contenders, but for sheer sustained glory you would be hard pushed to beat the Cleveland Way’s coastal section between Staithes and Filey. I’ve done it several times, in both directions, and never failed to be satisfied. And yet, approximately half of the 110-mile path is inland, starting in Helmsley and taking a huge loop north then east before reaching the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, 10 miles north of Staithes. I had never walked any of that moorland section, but this year, as the Cleveland Way celebrates its 50th birthday, I decide to put that right.

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