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Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck

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Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 13 Jun 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guidestar1 Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guidestar1 Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guidestar1 Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guidestar1 Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, N York Moors
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guide boot Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guide boot Danby, Oakley Side and Clitherbeck Walking Guide
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A 3 mile fairly strenuous circular walk from the Moors Centre at Danby in the heart of the North York Moors. The route heads out along the side of the Esk Valley on a quiet lane between pastures, before climbing up to join lanes and paths through the open moors for the return leg. There are stunning views across the moorland and valley throughout.

The walk includes several long and fairly steep slopes both up and down. The paths are a mixture of field/moorland and quiet lanes, the former of which can get very muddy and boggy. There are four stiles on route – two of which have dog gates, but of the other two, one is a tall ladder stile and the other has wire fence surrounds so dogs will need a lift over. Some of the fields may be holding cattle and of course the moors are home to lots of sheep. There are public toilets at the visitor centre at the start of the walk. Approximate time 2 hours.

Danby is accessed via the A171 between Guisborough and Whitby. Follow the signs from the A171 south to the village of Danby and then follow the brown tourism signs for the Moors Centre. The walk starts from the pay and display car park for the Moors Centre on Lodge Lane. Approximate post code YO21 2NB.

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Walk Sections

Start to Park House
Start to Park House

Start point: 54.4653 lat, -0.8945 long
End point: 54.4637 lat, -0.8872 long

Leave the Moors Centre car park back out via the vehicle entrance and turn left along the edge of the road. Follow the road over the brow of the hill and then look out on the left for a small wooden gate with a footpath sign for Lealholm (with a leaping salmon symbol). Pass through the gate and take the footpath diagonally across the field (at about 1 o’clock if you’re standing with your back to the road).

The leaping salmon symbol signifies that you have just joined a short section of the Esk Valley Walk – the long distance path that follows the River Esk from its source of springs high in the moors all the way out to Whitby where it flows into the North Sea.

Pass over the stile in the far corner and then keep ahead along the left hand edge of the next field. Cross the next stile to join the footpath running behind the farm to the right – Park House.

Park House to Ladder Stile
Park House to Ladder Stile

Start point: 54.4637 lat, -0.8872 long
End point: 54.4617 lat, -0.8676 long

Beyond the trees on the right you get your first view across the valley below to the right. Pass through the gate and keep ahead through the centre of the farm buildings of Butterwick Farm, passing through two more gates on the way.

Follow the concrete track as it continues to climb and bear left to merge with a tarmac lane. Ignore the track off to the left (the Esk Valley Walk heading off north) and instead keep ahead on the main tarmac lane. Follow this for some distance with views down to the base of the Esk Valley on the right, where you’ll be able to make out the train line.

Continue past the rail bridge visible down in the valley base and the road begins to descend. Where the fields on the left end (giving way to a small section of trees), look out for a stone track opening on the left with steps leading to a ladder stile.

Ladder Stile to Moorland Road
Ladder Stile to Moorland Road

Start point: 54.4617 lat, -0.8676 long
End point: 54.4661 lat, -0.8694 long

Go up the steps and cross the ladder stile into the field. Bear left and then right to follow the line of the stone wall (on your left) climbing fairly steeply uphill.

This area of land is criss-crossed with impressive drystone walls. The area has been passed down for generations between the lords of Danby. In the 15th century Sir John Danvers divided up the pasture on Oakley Side into small grazing areas which he rented out to local farmers and most of the walls here still date from that time.

The majority of the way up the field, pass through a field gate and keep ahead for the next shorter section of the climb. Pass through the next gate and keep ahead for just a few more paces to reach a T-junction with the quiet road running along the edge of the moorland.

Moorland Road to Cattle Grid
Moorland Road to Cattle Grid

Start point: 54.4661 lat, -0.8694 long
End point: 54.4668 lat, -0.883 long

Turn left along the road, enjoying this section of level walking to catch your breath. The views make the climb worthwhile – up into the moor on the right and for miles across the valley to the left.

The open moors are a mixture of heather, grasses, cotton sedges, mosses and bracken. These plants thrive in the poor acid soils which are low in nutrients, formed from the slowly eroding sandstone. They create an important habitat for many rare ground nesting birds, including lapwings, golden plovers, curlews and red grouse.

Ignore the first road turning to the right, keep ahead as the road gently descends. Take the next road on the right, just before you reach the cattle grid ahead.

Cattle Grid to Footbridge
Cattle Grid to Footbridge

Start point: 54.4668 lat, -0.883 long
End point: 54.4706 lat, -0.8935 long

Follow the stone road and, as it swings right, fork left down the grass track signed as a footpath. Follow the grass track as it swings left and downhill, alongside the stone wall on the left.

Keep fairly close to the stone wall on the left, picking your way through the moorland and granite rocks. As you reach Clitherbeck stream at the bottom, swing left alongside it and then cross the beck via the wooden footbridge.

Footbridge to End
Footbridge to End

Start point: 54.4706 lat, -0.8935 long
End point: 54.4655 lat, -0.895 long

The stream, Clitherbeck, gets its name from the sound of the water as it rushes over the stones. Clitherbeck is derived from the original local name of Clatterbeck.

Cross the stile after the footbridge and follow the path at 11 o’clock, climbing to reach the next gate. Pass through this and follow the path through a small area of woodland. Come out of the gate at the far side back into moorland. Bear right on the fairly obvious path swinging uphill under the power line – follow it as it then swings left running parallel to the wall on the right and keep ahead to reach the centre of the narrow copse of large trees.

Pass through the gate and follow the track down through the beech and sycamore woodland. At the fork, keep left, following the path with the wall on your left. Pass through the gate at the bottom and go straight ahead onto the road opposite signed to Lealholm and Glaisdale. You’ll pass the Moors Centre (including public toilets) on the right and then come to the car park on the left.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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