Filey – the town aims to become an all-year-round coastal destination
PUBLISHED: 08:33 20 July 2010 | UPDATED: 14:45 07 March 2018
Filey is a place of memories for many people but just as important is the role the seaside resort has in the future. Esther Leach reports<br/><br/>Photographs by Mike Kipling
Filey is a place of memories for many people but just as important is the role the seaside resort has in the future. Esther Leach reports
Photographs by Mike Kipling
The small town of Filey sits quietly between Scarborough to the north and Bridlington in the south. Nothing much ruffles the peaceful contentment of the resort except perhaps the flash floods that engulfed its streets in 2007.
But today there is a sense of excitement in the town as people come together to take Filey into a new era of celebration, not just of its past but also its future.
There is an ambition to make Filey an all-year-round resort by making more of what the town has to offer from its award-winning, six-mile stretch of golden sands during high summer to the rugged coastal beauty which makes it a perfect winter retreat.
‘Filey attracts different groups of people at different times of the year,’ says town clerk Gina Robinson.
‘In the spring we see walkers who take the Cleveland Way which ends and begins here and the families and children who come to Filey Brigg to study wildlife including school parties who love to explore the rock pools. Fishing is popular at the Brigg too.’
The wide variety of accommodation from campsites and caravan pitches to luxury cottages and boutique style hotels welcome everyone in the summer.
The town’s lifeguard-protected beaches allow children to play safely and the beach-based watersports include surfing and sailing.
‘There are plenty of cafes and high quality restaurants too, from Chinese to Italian,’ says Gina. But there is nothing much better than Filey’s fresh seafood.
The town wants to offer more entertainment. It doesn’t hesitate to recommend Alan Ackbourn’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in nearby Scarborough but it also wants to develop the entertainment programme at its own concert hall, the Evron Centre overlooking Filey Bay, a venue for theatre, musical events, exhibitions as well as for conferences and sports. Filey’s new annual town festival is also a way of involving residents and tourists in discovering its culture and heritage.
‘We had a good summer last year,’ says Gina. ‘We are making more use of new technology and the internet to tell people about Filey – we have a website, we tweet and we are on Facebook.’
There’s a call to make more of Filey’s Christmas illuminations and late night shopping, not only to attract visitors during the winter weeks but to ensure the town’s own population (just under 7,000) enjoys a late holiday season.
But it’s not only present-day attractions that are necessary to raise Filey’s visitor profile. Its history and heritage have an important part to play in the ambition to become an all-year-round destination.
By the time this issue of Yorkshire Life is published the Filey Bay Initiative – dedicating to promoting the town, its culture and environment as a heritage destination – will be celebrating 100 years of flight at Filey where the early aircraft were developed and tested on the sands.
It is also the force behind the Shipwrecks Project and creating the Filey John Paul Jones Heritage Coast.
Investigations, led by John Adams and his team, are going on into a wooden wreck which is believed to be the flagship of the American War of Independence, the 900-ton Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Commodore John Paul Jones of the American Navy, which was lost in the Battle of Filey Bay in 1779.
This excavation (at a depth of about 28 metres) and others in the bay are funded by the Lottery and encourages volunteers from the local community.
If the Bonhomme Richard is successfully identified, it will create a vitally important tourist attraction, creating new jobs in Filey’s heritage tourism bringing visitors not only to the resort but also to the rest of the Yorkshire Coast.