Things to see and do at Roseberry Topping
Make the 2-mile ascent to the summit of Roseberry Topping and discover many other features of the landscape along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as warblers, hares and wildflowers and look for signs of the area’s industrial past including an abandoned railway. And don’t miss the striking geological formations created millions of years ago at Cliff Rigg Quarry.
Climb to the top of Roseberry Topping
Pull on your walking shoes and head to the top of this unique hill to see why it’s been drawing people to its summit for centuries.
Though it cuts an imposing figure on the skyline, Roseberry is just 1,050 feet high (320m) – less than a third of the size of Scafell Pike, England's highest peak. But its diminutive nature is also one of its charms.
Anyone with a basic level of fitness can complete the short but steep walk from the public car park in Newton-under-Roseberry. It will take between 30 minutes to an hour.
When you reach the top, you’ll understand why it was source of awe for ancient Britons and Viking invaders, inspired legends of Northumbrian princes and ignited the spirit of adventure in a famous explorer.
Take a woodland walk
Get away from it all with a stroll through the woodland that wraps around Roseberry's lower slopes. Centuries-old oak and ash trees tower over you as you explore the network of paths threading through the understorey.
Walking southwards through Newton Wood leads you to Cliff Ridge Wood, where there are signs of the area’s industrial past. Look out for the remains of a narrow-gauge railway amongst the undergrowth – it once connected Cliff Rigg Quarry to the mainline railway.
Discover geological wonders
Explore the striking landscape of Cliff Rigg Quarry, with its towering rock formations and sheer slopes.
The Cleveland Dyke was formed around 59 million years ago. Hot magma forced its way through layers of sedimentary rock before cooling to form a hard igneous rock known as whinstone. This harder stone formed a ridge when glaciers later pushed down the surrounding land. You can clearly see the shape of this ridge at Cliff Rigg Quarry.
Starting in 1869, huge quantities of whinstone were quarried to provide high quality setts and road aggregates for the rapidly expanding city of Leeds. As a result of this quarrying Cliff Rigg Quarry now appears as a steep-sided valley, showing the geology of the Cleveland Dyke in full cross section. For this reason, the area is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Spot wildlife throughout the year
Roseberry Topping is teeming with wildlife no matter what time of year you visit. In spring the bluebells bloom and migrating warblers arrive on our shores. In summer, butterflies emerge and roe dear are courting. And in autumn the leaves paint the landscape with rich reds, yellows and oranges.
Now we're in winter the leaves have fallen so it’s a great time to look for some of the resident woodland birds and animals.
Tits often form flocks at this time of year as they search for food. You can see blue, great, coal, marsh and long-tailed tits in the trees. They may be joined by treecreepers and nuthatches too. Occasionally these winter flocks may attract the attention of a passing sparrowhawk, so keep your eyes open.
Out on Roseberry Common the many rowan and hawthorn trees add a splash of colour with their crops of berries. You might see large flocks of fieldfares and redwing gathering to feast on the bounty.
Look out for animal tracks when there’s snow on the ground. Brown hares and roe deer live in the area and it can be fun to track where they’ve been. If you're lucky you might just catch a glimpse of one.
Have a family adventure
Get out in nature for a fun family day out. The National Trust’s list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ is packed with outdoor adventures and you can tackle loads of them at Roseberry Topping. Why not hunt for bugs, organise a snail race, or get to know the trees in Newton Wood? And after you’ve done all that, there’s a really big hill for you to climb.
Discover how Captain James Cook embarked on many trips to Roseberry Topping as a young boy before he became one of the world’s most famous explorers.