Saltwick Bay

Approximately 1 mile to the east of Whitby is Saltwick Bay. Alum was quarried here from 1649 and remnants of the industry are still visible to this day. 

Saltwick Bay is also well known for the remains of fossils from the lower Jurassic period. With two main types of fossil found here  Dactylioceras & Hildoceras. Not only that this is a great place for rockpools which have an abundance of life, so  If your interest is macro photography then this is a great place to visit. 

The western end of the bay has the most photographic interest with one of the most notable points being that of the shipwrecked Admiral Von Tromp.

Having run aground in 1976 with the loss of two lives the remains are still there which are slowly been reclaimed by the sea.  

There are many photographic opportunities here but for most of the year, sunrise is the best option. During the longest days of the year, it is possible to have both sunrise and sunset.

Tide & Cliffs

You must be mindful of tide times here as it is possible to be cut off. It is best to go on an outgoing tide. Keep away from the cliff faces too as these are very dangerous and have been known to collapse without warning.

Having the sea swirling around the remains adds further interest to the story. Once the tide has moved further out it is then possible to get closer in for more intimate compositions until you can eventually proceed onto Black Nab itself.

Admiral Von Tromp

Saltwick Bay Beach

The beach is of fine-grained sand and some large rocks nearer to the shore. When the tide is fairly low the larger boulders are exposed where it is possible to use them as an interesting foreground subject. Time it right for long exposures one can create different feelings to a composition. This one includes Black Nab in the background and the black and white conversion I feel works right in this instance as it was shot in the midday sun without interesting light. It's more about the textures within this image. 


Between the beach and Black Nab, there are some huge boulders that are man-made. These are the remains of the Alum industry and are the perfect subject to photograph. I would recommend photographing these near a high tide which has started to turn to an outgoing one. Here you may experiment with long exposures get a few shots before moving further on to the shipwreck which is only a few hundred yards or so from here. This particular image was made at sunrise with only a small window of opportunity to capture the sun peaking through the clouds. It can pay to be patient at times.  

Harbour Remains

The east side of the bay contains a few interesting features too, namely the remains of the Harbour wall. Built towards the end of the 1600s the wall was built to transport Alum from here instead of taking it to Whitby quay for transport to South Shields, it could be done right here. With the end of the industry, it has been left to go to ruin and has left interesting patterns. The curve leading into the shot towards Saltwick Nab is a great opportunity but timing the tide right is essential.                   

Saltwick  Bay

Further to the eastern end of the beach, there are some large rocks and a good view of Saltwick  Nab. These boulders offer good subjects to shoot in a composition using the Nab as background interest or just the rocks themselves. Time the tides right to have the sea swirling around the rocks is fun to play about with, or just use the textures and colours for some abstract photography. Whatever your choice is there is something for every kind of photographic interest at Saltwick bay and it has had me returning here at all times of the year, day, morning, and even at night for some Astrophotography. 

I hope this guide has given you some ideas of what can be achieved here at Saltwick Bay. 


I have provided maps showing the location to park near to Whitby Holiday Park. Access to the park from Whitby Abby is about 1-mile heading southeast on Hawsker Lane. Parking is on unsurfaced land and access is down the steps to the beach.

The other map shows the location of the Admiral Von Tromp and close by Black Nab.


Parking For Saltwick Bay

Admiral Von Tromp Location

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