The interesting village of Sandsend is two miles from Whitby, may be reached by road, or along the sands. Being close to the seashore, the scars, the cliffs, and the delightful scenery of Mulgrave Woods, it forms one of the most entrancing spots to be found anywhere, and is increasing year by year in popularity as a holiday resort. Originally, no doubt, a fishing village, it acquired in later years a great, though transient, activity during the prosperous times of the alum industry in the district, the dismantled works of which may be seen today.

Just before arriving at Sandsend by road, the village of Eastrow is passed through. Locally, the name of “Sandsend” is used as embracing both Eastrow and Sandsend, though, as the visitor will quickly perceive, the two are quite distinct, being in different valleys and must have been more distinct before the houses were built along “the front” or “promenade”, as they have formed quite a link between the two. Immediately after crossing the bridge at Eastrow, and on taking the road to the left, will be found a swing gate which is one of the entrances to Mulgrave Woods, mentioned later.


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The ancient name of Eastrow was Thordisa and Charlton, one of the two historians of Whitby (about 1779), says: “There stood the idol temple of the heathen god, Thor, from whence the place was for many centuries called Thordisa. The sacrifices that has been made, and the worship that was paid by the Romans in Marsdale, near Sandsend, were afterwards; on the arrival of the Saxons, transferred a little southerly to the village of Thordisa.  Here the place of worship appears to have been fixed by the heathens till Christianity did prevail; and even then, though this temple be converted into a hermitage. Whose ruins are yet to be seen. yet that village still continued to be known by the name of Thordisa all the time our monastery of Whitby existed.” It should be stated that there are no such ruins now visible.

Sandsend is the northernmost of the two villages. Bathing may be safely enjoyed from the sands. Boats and boatmen may at times be arranged.

At low water, a ramble on the scar will be much enjoyed, and the stoutest boots, or none at all, are best for this excursion. The first gate on the right of Lythe Bank, the steep hill above the disused Railway Station, leads to a pathway which goes along the cliffs, leading to Kettleness, Runswick and Staithes.

Love Lane is the road which connects the Whitby to Sandsend and the Whitby to Guisborough roads. Whence it derives its title is best left to the reader’s imagination, but it provides a most welcome and useful link in several short round-walks, and provides a welcome variation in the approach to our way out of the town. It is reached either from the cliff-tops by a roadway leading across to the White House Hotel, or by the main Sandsend road East The Parade for about two hundred yards. At t e south end is the Whitby Laundry, close to which, on the edge of the footpath, is the “Wishing Chair.” This is a rudely-cut chair in stone. A popular belief is that those who sit in it, closing their eyes, wishing for anything reasonable, and divulging the wish to no one, will have their wish gratified. There are many explanations for its existence, but the most popular one, and the one which seems more feasible, is that it was originally the base of a Celtic Cross. It is made the centre of a very interesting book, “ The Wish,” by John Shaw. To mark the Festival of Britain year, a “ mile cross” was erected at the southern end of Love Lane, near the site of old wishing chair. It is one mile distant from the Abbey and was locally-made and given by the Rev. Prioress O.H.P., of Sneaton Castle. It was dedicated by His Grace the Archbishop of York on August 7th, 1951. This area was further developed in 1962 to provide a housing estate for the personnel of the R.A_F. Early Warning Station at Fylingclales.

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You can contact the author of this article myself Alan Davidson on Whitby (01947) 603748 Mobile (07813) 779273  and email


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