Port Mulgrave, North Yorkshire

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Port Mulgrave
Port Mulgrave - geograph.org.uk - 855834.jpg
Rosedale Lane, Port Mulgrave
Port Mulgrave is located in North Yorkshire
Port Mulgrave
Port Mulgrave
Location within North Yorkshire
OS grid referenceNZ794174
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTS13
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
54°32′46″N 0°46′23″W / 54.546°N 0.773°W / 54.546; -0.773Coordinates: 54°32′46″N 0°46′23″W / 54.546°N 0.773°W / 54.546; -0.773

Port Mulgrave is a derelict former ironstone exporting port on the North Yorkshire coast midway between Staithes and Runswick Bay in the civil parish of Hinderwell. Rows of domestic properties and individual houses exist on the top of the cliff.

Historically the locality was known as Rosedale, but to avoid confusion with the ironstone mines and iron works at Rosedale in the middle of the North York Moors the area was renamed Port Mulgrave for the local landowner the Earl of Mulgrave.[1]


In the 1850s Sir Charles Palmer opened an ironstone mine at Rosedale Wyke, Port Mulgrave with ironstone loaded onto small vessels from a wooden jetty. The barges were moved in and out using a paddle steamer.

Port Mulgrave Harbour

A nearby harbour was constructed by Sir Charles Palmer in 1856-57 at a cost of £45,000.[1][2][3] Initially the harbour exported ironstone to Jarrow on Tyneside to supply Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited founded by Sir Charles Palmer.[4]

Later ironstone was sent to blast furnaces by the River Tees.[3] When the mine at Rosedale Wyke began to run out Sir Charles Palmer established Grinkle ironstone mine 3 miles to the east near the hamlet of Dalehouse and in 1875 a narrow-gauge railway line was built to the mine.[2][5][6] The ironstone wagons from Grinkle Mine were taken over bridges then through a tunnel under Ridge Lane[7] down a mile long inclined tunnel on a ropeway powered by a steam engine situated by the east pier[3][5] then emerging in the cliff side 30 ft above sea level. The railway wagons were then led onto a gantry with bunkers on the east harbour wall ready for loading the ironstone directly into ships in the harbour.

The tunnel entrance can still be seen but it is sealed up.[8] In 1911 the pier gantry and boiler house were damaged by a serious fire however, the damage was repaired.[3] In 1916 Grinkle Mine was connected to the Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway thus avoiding the wartime hazards of shipping and the tramway tunnel abandoned.[1] Port Mulgrave was a busy port for 40 years but the harbour was redundant by 1920 due to the railway link and cheaper foreign sources of ironstone becoming available.[2] After falling into disuse the harbour was left to decay. In 1934 Grinkle Mine was abandoned,[3] and the harbour machinery sold off as scrap and the gantry accidentally destroyed by a fire.[1] The west harbour breakwater wall was deliberately destroyed by the Royal Engineers to prevent its use as part of any German invasion during World War II.[1][9]


Ammonite fossil at Port Mulgrave

The geology of the cliffs is Whitby Mudstone Formation (alum shale) and Cleveland Ironstone Formation[10] with traces of Jet in the shale. The official access route to the beach is down a steep path leading to a wooden ladder. The whole area is subject to coastal erosion, landslips and path closures. Ammonite, dinosaur and reptile fossils can be found on the foreshore and in the cliffs and because of this it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[1][11][12][13] However, digging fossils out of the crumbling cliffs and slippery screes is dangerous.[14][15] The beach is composed of rock, sand and stones.[16] The Cleveland Way walking route passes along the top of the cliff.[17]


Some inshore fishing using cobles takes place from the harbour.[1] Fishing cabins made from flotsam and found materials can be seen by the cliffs next to the harbour.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Port Mulgrave, Yorkshire". The Museum of Thin Objects. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Port Mulgrave". Northern Mine Research Society. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Boulby & Grinkle Mines". Image Archive. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Port Mulgrave". North Yorkshire County Council. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b Underwood, Arnold (10 October 2017). "Runswick Bay Staithes Port Mulgrave" (PDF). Dales Trails. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Exploring the Yorkshire Coast". National Trust. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Boulby & Grinkle Mines". Image Archive. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Port Mulgrave Beach". UK Beach Guide. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Port Mulgrave general information". Photo Recce. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  10. ^ Herringshaw, Dr Liam. "Geology of the Yorkshire Coast" (PDF). Fossil Hub. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Fossils from Port Mulgrave on the Yorkshire Coast". Been There Done That. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  12. ^ Rodell, Joanna (14 July 2007). "10 fossil sites". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Port Mulgrave". UK Fossils Network. 18 July 2004. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  14. ^ Stubley, Peter (28 October 2018). "Fossil collector rescued after getting trapped by landslide". The Independent. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  15. ^ Bowe, Charlotte (28 October 2018). "Fossil Collector Rescued After Port Mulgrave Landslide". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Port Mulgrave Beach". UK Beach Guide. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Port Mulgrave, North York Moors National Park Traveller Reviews". TripAdvisor. Retrieved 12 July 2019.

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