THERE are few places in life that you can visit as an adult and be transported straight back to the pages of a children's story book. The wild, rugged coast of Northumberland is one location that has always had that effect on me, conjuring Grace Darling-style tales of shipwrecks and heroic rescues.

High Paradise Farm, on the Cleveland Way above Boltby, a few miles from Sutton Bank, is another. In recent years it has been transformed from a smallholding into a quirky tea room, with some accommodation, camping and space for events.

Despite its growth, it has managed to retain all of its rustic charm, with pigs snuffling around contentedly in fields on the approach, ponies peering over fences hopeful of a pat on the nose, and friendly farm dogs wandering up to say hello. On a previous visit, a staff member showered our table in golden, shimmering dust, because, well, why not.

Part of High Paradise's individuality comes from the fact that there is no vehicle access for tea room customers. Instead, visitors are urged to ditch their motors at Sneck Yate car park and walk or bike the remaining distance.

For our trip on Sunday, we parked at the top of Kepwick Bank – possibly the best view in Yorkshire – and walked the two miles south along the ancient Hambleton Street, better known now as the part of the Cleveland Way, to High Paradise.

Conscious of England's 2pm kick-off in Euro 2020, we set off in good time so we could be home for the pre-match build-up. This being a sunny Sunday morning on the North York Moors in our slightly-less locked down state, we were soon encountering batches of marathon runners from a Hardmoors event – pretty standard for this neck of the woods. Walking against the tide, we were glad to step off the beaten track at High Paradise.

Arriving just after opening at 10am, as we expected the menu was fairly limited, and we were offered bacon sandwiches, but instead, having already breakfasted, opted for a hearty cheese scone each, cup of tea and a snack for later – chocolate brownie for me and the fattest slice of flapjack I've ever seen for my sister, Claire. The bill came to £15.

Looking at the menu, written on brown paper and hung on the wall beside the till, slightly later arrivals were in for some serious treats. Options included tortilla nachos (£7), beetroot, fig and feta salad (£7.25), bacon and black pudding salad (£7.50) and a selection of sandwiches. Pizzas, cooked in the oven at the side of the courtyard, included a range of toppings, from the typical cheese and tomato (£7), to the more intriguing fig, mascarpone and goats cheese (£8).

We grabbed a picnic bench in the corner of the sun-trap courtyard and set about our cheese scones.

They were still warm from the oven, and that, combined with the hot weather, meant the butter soon disappeared without a trace. We should have asked for more, but by that time groups of mountain bikers were arriving and it didn't seem worth getting in their way at the counter inside.

Our puddings were perfect fayre for walkers or bikers travelling considerably further than us, being stodge-central and super-sweet. We finished them off in several sittings over the rest of the day, not needing a massive blast of energy to watch a football match from the sofa.

The temptation was to stay a while away a few hours at High Paradise, watching the runners and bikers go by, but the Euros called, and we set off back to the car – but only after obeying the tea room guidance on recycling. In the corner of the courtyard is a recycling station for customers to separate their glass, plastics, food and paper cup/wooden cutlery waste. Signs dotted around the tearoom also give details on its single use cups policy. Part of the "choose to reuse" cup social media movement, High Paradise doesn't give out plastic lids, and has a loyalty card system which encourages customers to bring reusable cups.

It's great to see so many more of our hospitality venues adopting this environmentally-conscious approach and we kicked ourselves for not packing our reusable cups in our rucksacks.

The walk back to Kepwick proved no less eventful than the hike there. The marathon runners were still coming through, and an equestrian endurance event was also taking place. As well as trying not to delay the athletes, we were dodging scores of high-speed horses.

It all added to the sense of possible-adventure that lurks about that corner of the North York Moors. 

High Paradise Farm

Boltby, Thirsk, YO72HT

Tel: 07739 498255 Email:

Tearoom only accessible only by foot, bike or horse. Open every Thursday and Friday 11am-4pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm; All Bank Holiday Mondays 10am-4pm. From March until the end of September.

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Surroundings 9 Service 8 Recyclability 10