Highcliff Nab is a spectaular rock outcrop on the northern edge of the North York Moors escarpement. The Nab overlooks Guisborough with views to Middlesbrough in the west, and the coast and East Cleveland in the north and east. To the south of the Nab is the vast expanse of the North York Moors. The views from the Nab have been drawing visitors to the area since at least the time of Camden.
In 1995 reports of flints being found on the eroded edges of the Cleveland Way path led to a limited excavation of the Nab. The excavators found evidence of major Mesolithic activity on the cliff top. They also failed to find any significant domestic evidence and concluded that the Nab was probably a temporary occupation site associated with hunting.
The Nab is fairly easy to access. A wide forestry road runs from Hutton Village to the foot of the Nab via Bold Venture Gill. People with mobility difficulties may find the climb up to the Nab itself difficult.
As I've already mentioned, the views from the Nab are beautiful, especially on a clear day. What struck me was how well these views illustrate the occupancy of the higher ground during prehistoric times. Prehistoric sites such as Eston Nab, Upleatham and Mount Pleasant are all visible from the Nab. Bearing in mind that pollen analysis has shown that there was probably open woodland on the uplands but the lowlands would have been a dense canopy of woodland, these prehistoric sites would have appeared almost like islands in the ancient forests.
If you're in the area I would definitely recommend a walk up to Highcliff Nab, it will only take up two hours of your day. If you want to get a feel for how the landscape area may have looked to the Mesolithic folk then it's well worth the effort.
For added interest, the walk from Hutton Village takes you through a RIGS area, an area of special geological importance where you can see outcrops of ironstone, alum and jet formations.