Stroll With Stu: ‘Stupendous panorama’ on view in Danby walk

Clitherbeck

Clitherbeck

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This is another short (4-mile) circular walk, after which we’ll have a longer look round the popular North York Moors centre at Danby, before adjourning to the pub.

From Danby Station, head right over the railway and river, then divert left up a green slope as the road starts climbing up to Ainthorpe.

Cattle posing for a photo

Cattle posing for a photo

On Tarmac again, go left for half a mile past Kadelands Farm to take a prominent signposted path on your left.

This takes you back over the railway to a footbridge into the grounds of the aforementioned Moors centre.

Bear left, then straight up past the playground to the main building where it is permissible to succumb to a cuppa and perhaps a tasty biscuit. Go through the main gate near the surviving copper beech tree and turn left, quickly leaving the road to go straight on through a gate, climbing up through woodland to a second gate into an open field.

Hug the wall on your left (not literally for goodness sake), and adjacent to a further gate, dive right down the grass to enter young woodland at the bottom.

Danby Health Shop.

Danby Health Shop.

At the next open field, drop diagonally down to a footbridge over Clither Beck. Pause awhile at this less frequented area as there is prominent wildlife going about its business without the aid of nut-feeders and tree surgeons. One of the few areas I’ve heard a cuckoo recently, for instance.

The path squelches right then straight up alongside a wall for some distance, with superb views emerging behind you as you gain height.

After following that wall around to the right, you soon drop on to a minor road.

This climbs away left to Danby Beacon, but happily you need to stop slogging uphill as you go right and then left at a junction.

The backward views to Clither Beck have now been replaced with a stupendously lovely panorama of Eskdale and the Fryupdales, which I could happily look at more or less forever.

Opposite another minor road junction, go through the gate on your right to start a long steep descent on a walled track. I was greeted here by a youth who, having paused at the doorstep of exercise, chose to enjoy a day out in the country on a horribly whining 2-stroke motorbike, leaving a cloud of blue smoke in his wake.

A prudent stick through his front spokes saw him fly gracefully through the air, landing head first in a peat bog on Lealholm Moor.

At another tiny lane, turn right and head straight on at the tight bend to pass through a farm. There are several gates and stiles to negotiate as you pass an impressive stand of sycamores, before entering an open field, carrying on to another partially hidden stile, then diagonally left down to the road. Turn right and quickly take another right into Crow Wood. You are now entering an area managed by the North York Moors National Park Authority who do a decent job, considering that George Osborne has confiscated their cheque book.

Trees are labelled, ponds created and bird feeders are installed to attract both wildlife and parties of schoolkids that have yet to discover 2-stroke motorbikes.

At one point on the path is a man with a shotgun. He proudly proclaims that he loves the moors, so much in fact that he occasionally sets fire to them in order to make a nice habitat for grouse, to allow “Germans and Americans to come over and shoot them”. How delightful.

He helpfully informs us that without him and a small army of fat businessmen, the wildlife would suffer as the land would revert to “scrub and woodland”.

Unfortunately, the man with the shotgun is just a statue incorporating a loudspeaker, so you are unable to engage him in a conversation involving the words “elitist”, “privileged” and “cobblers”.

Work your way back to where you entered the woods and take a path on the opposite side of the road into the grounds of the Moors Centre, where you can explore playgrounds, a maze, riverside walks, more talking statues and a walled garden, as well as regular events in the grounds and a very impressive art gallery in the main building. There is a nice shop (ask one of the staff about the Moorsbus, which returns next summer), and the woolly sheep café where you could succumb to a cuppa and a tasty slice of cake.

Leave via the gate above the walled garden, and take the road left back to Danby, where I recommend that you pop into Danby Health Shop. This has recently been taken over by the co-workers from Botton Village, and after all the hassle they’ve suffered up at the farm, they deserve your custom in this gorgeous, well-stocked shop, which just happens to be next door to the pub!