An eye-catching collection of buildings that have sprung up in a former coastal mining village within driving distance of Hull has been described as one of the most unique places in the UK.
Port Mulgrave, between Staithes and Runswick Bay, looks to outsiders to be a typical community at the top of the cliff, with rows of houses which used to home the miners of the ironstone exporting port.
However a trip down the cliff face leaves visitors feeling like they’ve walked into a world unlike anything in the area.
One of the fossil collector, standing amid the shanty town of bohemian-looking fisherman’s huts during Yorkshire Live’s visit, said: “I don’t think there’s anywhere quite like it.”
If you’re willing to tackle the difficult journey down the cliff face, there is a unique experience in store for any visitor.
Reporter Charles Gray writes: “Down on the coast the former port area has become filled with startling fisherman’s huts that are used to store equipment.
“The huts have been put together and designed by each of the owners in ramshackle fashions, with rope, pebbles, shells, plywood and remnants of boats all used to put the huts – of which there are around 30 – together.
“Each one is different to the last and the designs are quite stunning.
“Getting down to it is not for the faint of heart though. The steep 10-minute trek down the cliff face is tough enough on a dry day so it’s hard to imagine the nerves that would have been felt if it would’ve been slippery on my visit.
“There used to be a set of stairs leading down but these were destroyed in a landslip on the cliff face in the last year.”
Patrick Llamas, who regularly visits the spot to search for fossils, said that he and his son were the last to use the former steps.
Mr Llamas said: “It’s normally really quiet and peaceful down here. No one wants to come down at the minute because of the accessibility. You always see the same people.”
He also explained that the fisherman’s huts are used by people from across the area to store their equipment. He said that there was one man who used to live in one of the huts but that he had now moved to Whitby.
He said: “He used to sell fossils that he found. He was quite bohemian, you could say. I think you have to be quirky if you want to live in a hut that you have to climb down an 800-foot cliff to get to.”
He added: “Some of the others might not want to chat because it’s their little place. They might not want people knowing about it.”
The landslips have also caused damage to some of the fishing huts, with a couple of lads who were searching for fossils saying that the fishermen were in the process of moving some of the huts forward and away from the cliff face.
The two also pointed out that some of the huts have been attached with solar panels and a wind turbine to generate electricity.
They said: “They put a lot of work into them. They’re not afraid to get dirty from what I’ve seen of them.”
They also said that they had seen some gatherings taking place on the beach front, which was evidenced by the sad sight of litter and fire pits being left behind.
The two lads and Mr Llama both explained that while the fishing huts are an attraction, the area is actually more renowned for being a brilliant spot for finding ammonites and other kinds of fossils.
Mr Llama said: “The thing with the shacks is a couple of them are just s**t tips so they’re not big of an attraction. A couple of people might come down but it’s not exactly a thriving place.
“The real attraction for me is the fossils.”
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Getting back up the cliff face is even more difficult than getting down, with the rope that is in place heading down the path proving very useful in helping pull yourself back up. But again, if you aren’t particularly fit (not that I’m an athlete or anything) you’d probably be best advised avoiding the area.
One resident of the village at the top of the cliff said that she was only aware of one person locally who owned one of the huts and that most people come from elsewhere.
She said: “You always know who they are because you will see them carrying a door or planks of wood or something down the cliff.”