The hill is an outlier of the North York Moors uplands. It is formed from sandstone laid down in the Middle and Lower Jurassic periods, between 208 and 165 million years ago, which constitutes the youngest sandstone to be found in any of the National Parks in England and Wales. Its distinctive conical shape is the result of the hill's hard sandstone cap protecting the underlying shales and clays from erosion by the effects of ice, wind and rain.
Until 1914, the summit resembled a sugarloaf until a geological fault and possibly nearby alum and ironstone mining caused its collapse. The area immediately below the summit is still extensively pitted and scarred from the former mineworks. The summit has magnificent views across the Cleveland plain as far as the Pennines on a clear day, some 40 to 50 miles away.
It is 1 mile from Great Ayton, next to Newton-under-Roseberry village on A173 Great Ayton to Guisborough. There is a car park at Newton under Roseberry and public toilets are here.
Young James Cook would take himself off up Roseberry Topping, which gave him his first taste for adventure and exploration, which was to stay with him for life.
Captain Cooks family had a house built in the village in Bridge Street but this was auctioned and sold in 1933. After being purchased and presented to the Victoria State Government of Australia it was dismantled and re-erected in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne, Australia, where it is open to the public as a museum and is known as Cook’s Cottage.
Today the site where the cottage stood is a small memorial garden with a bench and a small lawn with a good selection of well tended bushes.
In the middle is a obelisk which is an exact replica of the obelisk at Cape Everard, where Capt. Cook first sighted Australia.
The obelisk is constructed from granite taken from Point Hicks, the first land sighted by Cook in Australia
As a boy, James Cook worshipped with his family at All Saints Church. The family grave is in the churchyard, as is that of Thomas Skottowe who paid Cook’s school fees at the Postgate School.
The church was built late in the 12th century, and although some parts have been changed over the centuries (notably the addition of the porch in the 13th century and the removal of the original tower and western part of the nave in 1880), the main construction of the church is, in the main, unaltered. The candlelit interior is mostly from the 18th century and features a distinctive three decker pulpit with sounding board.
It is also open for visitors from April to October from 2pm - 4.30pm each afternoon and from 10.30am - 12 noon on Tuesdays
The Cook family grave is on the right , about 25 feet from the gate, in the church yard.
The sculpture , which stands on High Green, is the work of the internationally renowned sculptor, Nicholas Dimbleby, and shows James at the age of 16, looking towards Staithes.
It was unveiled on 12th May 1997 by Captain Chris Blake, Master of the replica of Cook's ship HM Bark Endeavour, during the ship's visit to Whitby.
The Schoolroom Museum in Great Ayton is housed in a building once used as a charity school which was founded in 1704 by Michael Postgate, a local landowner. It was here, between 1736 and 1740, that Captain James Cook received his early education.
This is a small and fascinating museum with interesting displays and exhibits. The very life like characters in the school room recreation are convincing and speak in the local dialect - it takes about 5 minutes for the recorded voices to run through.
Entrance is £2 and £1 concessions. Only open in the afternoons so plan your visit carefully.
The school was formerly a charitable oragnisation and it was here that the famous explorer Captain James Cook received his ealry education. He attended the schoool between 1736 and 1740.
The building has now been turned into a museum and it outlines the life of Captain Cook.
Open 1 April - 31st October from 1pm - 4pm (Jul & Aug - 11am - 4pm)
This beautiful 12th century church in the village of Great Ayton is where the famous explorer Captain James Cook used to worship as a child. Within the grounds of the church is the family grave.
It is traditional country village church which has been added to over the years. Much of the interior now dates from the 18th century.