In the following route description, notes concerned with navigation are show in plum, descriptions of features able to be seen are in black and warnings are given in red.
- Car Park: On the west side of the Skinningrove Beck mouth at NZ 712 201. Cross the village front and go over the bridge to reach the slipway on the eastern side of the valley.
1. There are views of the village, the slag cliffs topped by the iron and steelworks, the incline and the jetty used for the export of pig iron. Further afield, Huntcliff can be seen with the present day mineral railway and the Guibal fanhouse (a much better view is gained by going a little way up the Cleveland Way steps).
- Go on to the beach and eastwards on the scar.
2. The cliff line follows the strike (i.e. the beds are apparently horizontal as seen) and the same strata can be followed for some distance. The ironstone seams gradually appear as the cliffs become higher with the Main Seam at c.60m. At scar level the Redcar Mudstone Formation, silty shale, has thin beds and nodules of ironstone. Rounding Hummersea Point there are two deep clefts in the cliffs, the result of jointing and faulting. There are good examples of rutways on the scar.
- Continue on to Hummersea Beach, the steps and the ‘kiln’.
3 The various remains of alum operations noted above can be viewed and the variety of pebbles appreciated.
- Continue on the usually wet scar to the Old Gut.
4. The remains of the dock can be investigated and the ironstone seams of the landslip.The seams have an apparent dip of c.80º to the south! The old line of a track up the cliff can be made out.
Warning: It’s possible for the intrepid to go on eastwards a short way and, perhaps, find the ‘third dock’ but beware of the incoming tide; there is no easy way up the cliff short of Staithes.
- Return to Hummersea Beach and climb the steps and path to the Cleveland Way.
5. View the geomorphology of this area (much of which has now been donated to Tees Valley Wildlife Trust). The scarp line of Saltwick Sandstone is set back from the coast and is paralleled underground by the subcrop of the Cleveland Ironstone Formation (see the geological map). The, therefore, deep embayment is infilled by till that is much landslipped on the seawards side. The Snilah Ponds, still shown on modern maps, are said to have been infilled by material from Boulby Potash Mine development.
- Return to Skinningrove along the cliff top following the Cleveland Way. Hummersea House, the home of the Louis Hunton, the famous geologist, is in view to the south-west prior to rounding Warsett Hill.
Disclaimer: Tees Valley RIGS Group cannot be responsible for the safety of anyone visiting the Hummersea site whilst following this geo-trail. The accompanying map was accurate when this trail was devised in 2011, but these cliffs are prone to landslip through natural processes and paths may be lost.
We suggest that you check tide times and weather conditions before setting off, and do so only on a falling tide. Take great care and remain at least 10m away from the cliff base as the cliffs are prone to rock falls. Use appropriate safety equipment where necessary.
©2011 Tees Valley RIGS Group.
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