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Country walk at Danby Moor
GEORGE WILKINSON enjoys a grand day out from the Moors Centre at Danby.
The Moors Centre at Danby was hot and children played in dappled Crow Wood. We took a shady avenue, cool under the beech, north, out of Eskdale and its road, railway and river.
At the grass we met four sheep with seven lambs and I heard my first cuckoo; “Deaf lugs,” said my navigator.
After a little jink around with some sights of Castleton, Danby Dale, silage cutting and Little Fryup Dale, we made the moors.
The sky was perfect blue, the sun was hot and the breeze was cool.
The ground was speckled with little yellow tormentil flowers. Curlews flew and they were noisy, a golden plover was more discreet, a grouse scuttled with a pretend broken wing and a pair of black-headed gulls had an aerial altercation.
The route crosses a length of stone ‘trod’ named the Pannierman’s Causeway; the line of smooth worn flagstones were clear.
Not quite clear was the next mile over Low Danby Moor because there’s both a path and a bridleway and they run vaguely parallel, and it’s open access land. So given that there are no intermediary waymarks, and given the various traffic, the boots, bikes and horses, there are various paths.
My navigator pointed to a throng on the horizon, and said: “They must be on our top track.” The compass reassured us and we eased on up. The throng, dozens, came down our way, a long crocodile on a better path than ours.
Without much ado we found the Siss Cross, a bit of a stump, and then our top track and a back lane that brought long views north and east, to Scaling Dam Reservoir and its sailing boats, and further, to the hazy sea. Danby Beacon is close.
On the way down we strode a straight, long length of the aforementioned Pannierman’s Causeway where the stone ‘trod’ is still in place.
And it took us to a valley where the farm was named Doubting Castle in the 19th century. The cuckoo called again.
Black Beck, that rises on the moor where once were the Danby peat pits, sparkled in woods. We’d had the season’s first doze on the moor, now it was the first paddle. Back at the Moors Centre there is an exhibition called Inspired Landscape; it’s the 60th anniversary of the North York Moors National Park. I liked the black-and-white photos, taken in the 1970s by William Tillyer; of milk churns, ever so calm, quiet and steady, and now so nicely nostalgic.
When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.
1. From car park right to road. On bend, gates on right into wood (fingerpost/waymark), track uphill, fieldgate out of wood, path by wall, 200 yards.
2. Fieldgate (waymark) on left, path uphill 100 yards, fork right across grass, left by wall, grass track.
3. At a field corner with nearby tree in the field, left to dirt track, ignore left fork after 50 yards.
4. Track crosses stream then right to grass track, 100 yards, pass house and join stone track, cross road (bridleway sign), path on moor, 300 yards.
5. Cross Pannierman’s Causeway (a paved path), slab bridge, through one line of grouse butts. Path becomes eroded and faint.
6. At second line of butts, locate westerly butt No.8 and head left (west) to No. 9 and right to a path uphill. Pass Siss Cross, path levels then becomes track.
7. Right (waymark post and cairn) to main stone track.
8. Path on right (waymark post), in or alongside ditch. Right to main road (verge), left at junction on crest.
9. Path on right (fingerpost bridleway), becomes stone flagged.
10. At field, left to good track, ignore turn to farm on right, track crosses stream and swings right.
11. From fence corner at tracks junction, fork right to take track diagonally downhill, duckboards, ladderstile into wood, duckboards, footbridge (waymark) over Black Beck and left, leave wood, gate, one o’clock across field, gateway, uphill, gate, track through trees, gate (waymark), grass track uphill and left to rejoin outward route by wall.
Distance: Six miles.
General location: North York Moors.
Start: Moors Centre at Danby.
Right of way: Public.
Date walked: May 2012.
Road route: Various.
Car parking: Pay-and-display car park.
Lavatories: Moors Centre.
Refreshments: Moors Centre.
Tourist and public transport information: Moors Centre 01439 772737.
Map: Drawn from OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors western.
Difficulty: Moderate if fine.
Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.