The National Trust has installed new information panels to enable visitors to visualise how a tranquil coastal beauty spot was once a chemical manufacturing hub

The five new boards enable visitors to imagine how different the cliff top at Ravenscar near Robin Hood’s Bay would have appeared when the Peak Alum Works produced 10% of North Yorkshire’s supply of alum. The mineral was processed to create a dye-fixing chemical that was essential in the textile industry from the mid-1600s for nearly 200 years.

The remains of the factory site are looked after by the National Trust. The new panels have been produced with the help of funding from the Coastal Communities Fund as part of the ‘Sea Life, See Life’ project being delivered by the North York Moors National Park Authority and with input from the Cleveland Way National Trail.

Ravenscar will be a focal point for many of the guided walks on Saturday 28 May during this year’s WalkFest. The North York Moors National Park and the Cleveland Way National Trail are lining up an archaeology expert to walk visitors through the history of the coastal beauty spot as well as holding a family-friendly geocaching trail with the National Trust exploring the alum works.

The WalkFest programme includes 13 guided walks that will take place between Saturday 28 – Monday 30 May, enabling families, sauntering strollers or serious striders to take their pick of routes ranging from a minibeast treasure hunt through to strenuous 10.5 mile walks across moorland and along the Cleveland Way National Trail.

Eric Wilton, manager for the National Trust on the Yorkshire coast explains: “The mining of alum-bearing shale in the cliffs has helped shape the coastline we see today and the establishment of the Peak Alum works was a defining moment in Ravenscar’s history. “This is why it has been important to replace the old boards and help our visitors to make the most of the intriguing remains of an industry that was once so important across North Yorkshire.”

For more information and advance bookings, go to