209. Hornsea to Withernsea

There appeared to be a nice weather window opening up for 3 or 4 days on the West coast of Scotland; unfortunately I could not take advantage of it due to problems with my bike! The absence of any public transport where I would be walking, meant it was imperative that I used my bike. I had bought a cheap[? £110] Chinese bike on Amazon and it turned out not only to be a death trap but also a load of junk! I got my money back and they did not even ask for the bike back, instead they said give it to charity! I could not use this bike even for spare parts, it was that rubbish! My old bike, which is a non-folder had developed a problem with its derailleurs. I have since bought a good quality second-hand bike of Ebay (a Dahon Cadenza). I therefore opted to do a quickie one-dayer on the East Yorkshire coast.

I had delayed doing this walk for a couple of days in order to get the tide just right, as I would be doing the entire walk on the beach. I drove to and parked in the free car park near the leisure centre in Withernsea.  I then walked about 200m towards the sea front to catch the 8:45 #129 bus to Hornsea. It was nice looking at the scenery as the bus drove up the coastal road. I say this because often when you just walk along the beach, all you get to see is the sea on one side and the cliff-face on the other. And so it turned out to be.

I left the prom of Hornsea behind and looking north could still make out the white lighthouse at Flambrough Head in the far far distance. On my right flank was the ever present boulder clay cliff varying from 4 – 6m in height which would be with me all the way to Withernsea. It was obvious from the off that this stretch of coast is seriously threatened by erosion at quite an alarming rate. Evidence of slumping could be seen along the entire coast. The most prominent signs of the erosion were the Second World War military buildings which littered the shore, together with underground cables and drains now exposed to the sea.

I entered onto a section of coast that used to form part of the Cowden Firing Range, which ceased operations back in 1998 and finally closed in 2013. However, the RAF is still actively involved  by performing weekly ‘sweeps’ along the coast  for  unexploded ordnance. I came across one such device close to the foot of the cliff. The ordnance looked to be similar to other devices I had seen in the media, I did not get too close. When I got home I called Humber Coastguard to report the find. Apparently, they get regular reports of unexploded devices, that’s why they do so many sweeps of the beach..

Apart from the jumbled pill-boxes and observation towers which had  tumbled onto the beach, there was not a great deal to hold one’s interest, although I did find some lovely coloured pebbles which I would lacquer at a later date. After just over 4 hours of walking in a straight line I emerged onto the sea front at Withernsea. Not an inspiring day, but better than trying to walk along the un-pathed cliff top.

Heading south from Hornsea
Severe erosion of Boulder Clay cliffs
WW2 building on beach
Unexploded ordnance which I found
WW2 building on beach
Large WW2 building collapsed on the beach
Fishermen on beach
Withernsea sign and beacon
Unusual ‘building’ Withernsea


Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance = 3,724 miles


7 thoughts on “209. Hornsea to Withernsea”

  1. Shame about your bike. You’ve missed some fabulous weather in Scotland. Cool air, hot sun, and no wind! Perfect for walking. (Although, sadly, it rained today.) How amazing to find an unexploded thingy, and glad you knew what it was and what to do. Also interested to learn that you lacquer pebbles too – I thought I was the only walker with that weird habit 😆


    1. Hi Ruth, here you go these are the pebbles I collected on Sunday I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but my first degree was in Geology at Liverpool Uni. I especially like the shales with the quartz and haematitic veins as well as the two granite samples. Hope to get to Scotland in an hired van as my Avensis has a cracked windscreen which cannot be repaired until next week.. Hey ho!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Quite an interesting walk this one, and a good example of why I’d not buy a house along that stretch of coast! I too walked the beach there seemed to be no paths along the top for much of the way (probably all eroded away). The unusual building in Withernsea was once the entrance to the pier. The pier has gone, but it’s entrance hasn’t.

    Are you going to go down Spurn Head? I particularly enjoyed that bit, though I had no idea the road had gone until I got there (it’s now an island on high spring tides or during storms).


  3. Hi Jon, did not know about the pier at Withernsea. Part of the buidlings are now used as offices. Yes I’ll be going down to Spurn Head, however, I will have to get the timings right for crossing the “wash-over” section. Because of the double walking the same route I intend to dump my bike at Kilnsea. After walking to Kilnsea I will then push my bike down Spurn Head and cycle back to Kilnsea along the the same section of road. This means I can extend my walking mileage for the day.

    On another note I have just looked at the coast of getting a train to Kyle of Lochalsh. 2 x Singles would cost £234 from Shropshire with my railcard! How much it costs yourself from the south must be eye-watering. I will be making a number of trips over the Summer/Autumn/Winter. If you are interested in driving to Shrosphire then getting a lift north to the west coast we could probably arrange something.


    1. Regarding the costs, I use EasyJet from London Luton to Inverness. Looking at my text trip (in July) the return flights cost £55.98 so it works out a lot cheaper (and faster) for me to fly than take the train. Not sure if the time and cost savings would be so much different for you, though FlyBe do fly to Inverness from Birmingham and Loganair from Manchester, so might be worth looking into. Of course that won’t get you to Kyle of Lochalsh but I imagine the trains would be much cheaper from Inverness or Glasgow than from Shropshire (or you can usually get fairly cheap car hire from Inverness airport I usually find)


  4. Thanks Jon, I have considered flying in the past. Looking at getting to Kyle of Lochalsh in July would cost approx £95 for the return flight and £16 for the train, excluding any hire car cost. At the moment taking the car is cheaper as I get c 50mpg, although that flight time of 90 mins to Inverness is very very appealing!! The other big advantage of the car is that I can sleep very comfortably in the back of the Avensis Estate. I might well treat myself to a couple of flights when I begin heading south in the NorthEast of Scotland.


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