Would-be fossil hunters visiting the North Yorkshire coast should head for Runswick Bay, where finds to look out for include ammonites and ichthyosaurs. It has been said that the entire dinosaur era is represented on this stretch of coast. Even if fossils don’t float your boat, a few years ago this location was voted the best place in Britain for beachcombing, as fossils aside there are also shells and rare stones to look out for. As for the picturesque village itself, it clings precariously to the cliffs with the perils of the sea never far away. Many of the village’s cottages have been lost to the sea over the years due to erosion, and it was also the fragile state of this coast which contributed to the closure of the railway which used to run through here. On the plus side, it is the erosion which has led to the abundance of the aforementioned fossils. Runswick Bay used to have its own lifeboat, but now the nearest lifeboat station is at Staithes up the coast. In March 1901 the lifeboat men of the village were caught out at sea in their fishing cobles – open fishing boats typical of the North East – when a storm was moving in, and the womenfolk found themselves in the position of having to launch the lifeboat to rescue their other halves.
Map of the area.