tree in the woods

Mulgrave woods

If you’re looking for a bit of adventure when you come to Whitby, why not take a wander through Mulgrave Woods? The estate is vast, there are lots of walking routes to choose from, suitable for experienced walkers and gentle family strolls.

Mulgrave woods walks

You can spend hours exploring the woodland on the Mulgrave Estate. Starting in Sandsend you can wind up through the woods, following footpaths and crossing the streams that run through the estate.

One of the real hidden gems in the woods are the ruins of the Mulgrave Castle. You can see the ruins of the Norman castle that once occupied the width of the ridge. You’ll also get a spectacular view over the valley while you wander around the castle ruins.

Legend tells of an older castle existing on the site. It is believed to have been built by Wade, or Wada, ruler of Hälsingland, Sweden. The story tells that Wade, who was actually a giant, travelled through Yorkshire building lots of roads and castles along the way.

If you don’t want to make up your own route, there are many free walking routes around the woods. You can access them online and they vary in length and difficulty. For some inspiration, check out the easy 3.7 mile walk from ViewRanger or 7 mile route from the Happy Hiker.

Mulgrave Woods and EstateImage credit: Mulgrave Estate

Opening times

The woodland is open from dawn until dusk all year on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It is, however closed to the public throughout the month of May.

As you walk, you might see some signs around the estate. Please make sure you respect any information they give.

You’ll find the woodland at: Mulgrave Estate, Lythe, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3RJ.

As certain times of the year, you can also access the formal gardens at Mulgrave which are really worth a visit. You can find out the garden open days on the Mulgrave Estate website.

Mulgrave ghosts and creatures

There are lots of ghost and horror stories surrounding the Mulgrave woods. If you do walk to the castle, keep a watchful eye out for the PadPad. Legend tells of the part goat, part panther and part human is believed to live under the ruins. It protects the castle from anyone who makes camp there. All you hear before you meet the beast is the soft pad, pad, pad of its feet on the floor before you disappear…

You might also be unlucky enough to meet with Jeanie, the ill-tempered fairy who lives in a hob hole deep in the woods. If you disturb her on your walk, you’ll know about it! She prefers to spend her days in solitude. Legend says she’ll curse any who interrupts her, although one lucky farmer is said to have avoided her wrath.

Having ridden into the woods calling for Jeanie without really expecting to find anything, the farmer was petrified when she appeared before him. He spurred his horse on in an attempt to escape, but Jeanie gave chase. The farmer knew she wouldn’t be able to follow him over the river so sped his horse on. As rider and horse leapt to safety, Jeanie uttered a spell. The farmer survived, but his horse was not so lucky, Jeanie had cut it in half.

So, if you do go for a wander through the woods, make sure you leave before dusk or you’ll have more than the opening hours to worry about…

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