Thursday 21st February 2002

Weather: Cold, wet & windy. . .

Today's Walk: The Esk Valley Walk - Stage 2

Castleton - Danby - Lealholm - Glaisdale ( 10 miles )

Stage 2 of the Esk Valley Walk begins where we ended the first - at the road bridge near Castleton Station
(Grid Ref. 685 084)

We follow the road away from Castleton, under the railway bridge and past the station, then uphill
until we turn right at the 'leaping salmon' footpath sign just past the tennis court to the right (Grid Ref. 683 087)
- the track leads us past a couple of farms with views south to Castleton village on the other side of the Esk Valley


Further along the track we enter the wood at Danby Park before emerging onto a moorland track
- from here we look south across the meandering River Esk to the village of Ainthorpe with Danby Dale beyond

The moor track leads us down to the Castleton to Danby road which we follow for a few hundred yards
before turning right onto a path just before some crossroads - if you're in need of refreshment
you can carry straight on to the
Duke of Wellington Inn 100 yards ahead (B & B available)


The path leads us past a couple of quoit pitches and then . . . why did I think of Scarborough beach?



We emerge near the village chapel from where we continue along the road, passing on our right
the 350 year old Danby Water Mill, now carefully restored to full working order and featuring a coffee shop,
craft centre and bed and breakfast facilities

"In the early 1900's Mr Petlar was miller. Whilst he was there from 1911-1921, he used to charge one penny a stone
for grinding. Before that the method of payment was by 'moultering', where a proportion was taken out of each sack
of corn instead of payment in coinage."

(From Round and About the North York Moors by Tom Scott Burns)


Soon after crossing the River Esk via the road bridge, we turn left up a path between houses and
then left again at the top along a quiet, narrow road (Easton Lane)

After about a mile look for a stile on your left, cross it into a field and go straight ahead...



...carefully crossing a railway line (Stop, Look & Listen), then continue on and over the Esk again via a wooden footbridge


This brings us into the grounds of the Moors Centre at Danby Lodge

"Danby Lodge was the former residence of the Dawnay family during the shooting season. It was in 1656 that the
manor of Danby came into the possession of the Dawnays, when they paid 4102 for it. The house did not afford
accommodation for a large retinue, but merely for small parties who participated in the field sports with Lord Downe.
At one time the lodge boasted a portrait of Catherine Parr (the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII married in 1543).
The portrait hung in one of the spacious rooms, but regrettably was removed from the lodge when the building
was opened as a National Park Centre in 1975. Catherine Parr lived for several years at nearby Danby Castle
with her second husband - Lord John Latimer. Catherine's husband died in London in 1543,
and four months later on 12th July, she became Queen of England"

From Danby Lodge we follow the road to the right, past the car park, then after a couple of hundred yards
look for a stile on the left - we cross the stile and head diagonally across a field to the far top corner then cross
another stile and follow the path alongside a stone wall before reaching Park House Farm. We continue through the
farmyard and follow the farm access road and soon after reaching a narrow road turn left up a steep lane


The lane leads up Oakley Side and this is the view south to Little Fryup Dale from near the top
- on a bright, clear day it's well worth pausing and savouring for a few minutes



At the top of the lane we emerge onto a narrow road which we follow ahead and slightly uphill then turn right
at a junction and follow this road for about a mile up to
Danby Beacon, the mound beyond the trig point
at 299 metres (Grid Ref. 736 093)

Danby Beacon was one of a series of fire beacons "sited on some high prominence when our country was threatened
by invasion in bygone days. Pre-Armada regulations insisted that watchers should be:

' . . . the wisest and discretest men dwellinge within the limits of everie beacon place . . . and none but honest householders,
and above the age of 30 yeres . . . and that there upon, every man in charge . . . restore with all speed to the place or shore
from whence the fyrst lighte was gyven . . . Everie man do his best endevore to the uttermost of his power . . . that all the catell,
shepe, horse and victual, be carried, and driven from thence where the enemie shall be . . .'

Iron fire-baskets or brandreth's were used to hold the firing material which comprised:

' . . . a large stack or pile of Furze or Faggot with some Bow Wood at least (blank) Waggon Loads, and such as may be
expected to produce a Fire conspicuous at 10 to 12 miles distance . . . together with three or four Tar Barrels to add
occasionally so as to make a Fire that will be visible for two hours. Also a quantity of Straw wetted,
and in readiness to wet, to make smoke by day."

There was also a strategic
Radar Station near Danby Beacon during World War II

Meanwhile, in the photograph (above right) and well protected against the inclement weather,
Jim and Stan are looking at the nearby viewpoint indicator - not much use in today's poor visibility



From Danby Beacon we follow a good, stony track east across Lealholm Moor, passing the remains of Stump Cross.

After about a mile, we turn right where the track meets another at Grid Ref. 762 092 and follow this until it meets a road
- then continue straight on down the road to a junction then turn right...


...and we follow the road downhill into the picturesque village of Lealholm


At the bottom of the hill we again reach the River Esk, but just before the road bridge, below the car park,
turn left and follow a track eventually leading to Underpark Farm

(Today the track was closed due to the farm being re-stocked with animals after the foot & mouth epidemic
- we had to follow diversion signs all the way back up to the top of the hill and along Rake Lane
before descending past Park House Farm down towards the river valley)


This is the view up the Esk Valley to Underpark Farm, where we would normally have walked, from Rake Lane



At the bottom of the lane we have two choices of crossing the River Esk - one via the ford on the left
and the other over the footbridge. Guess which we chose!



After a very muddy ascent up the track on the other side of the river we reach a road which leads to a small cluster of
cottages at Thorneywaite - surprisingly, the official footpath goes down the side of one and straight through its back garden!


The path now leads across a couple of fields and into a wood, eventually passing a restored water mill
- Mill Wood Cottage beside the river


From the mill cottage we climb the access road up and out of the wood emerging into the village of Glaisdale

location map


Stage 1: Blakey Ridge - Esklets - Westerdale - Castleton

Stage 3: Glaisdale - Sleights - Ruswarp - Whitby

( If any photographs fail to download, click the right mouse button on the blank space then choose 'Show Picture' )


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