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Looking to Danby Rigg from the path up Little Fryup Dale
Looking to Danby Rigg from the path up Little Fryup Dale

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Route No. 362 - Wednesday 25 August 2010
Danby Visitor Centre, Little Fryup Dale,
Danby Rigg, Ainthorpe, Danby circuit - 10km
Esk Valley,
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western Area at 1:25000


Leaving the car park for the woodland path
Leaving the car park for the woodland path

Following the road near the visitor centre car park
Following the road near the visitor centre car park

Crossing the field to the track above Park House
Crossing the field to the track above Park House

Here the path turns left into the wood but we continued straight on and out onto the road. This last 20m is not an official path but clearly many people had done the same thing before us and it's a much more pleasant start than just walking down the road. We continued along the road for about 150m and turned off the road at map ref. NZ719081. We went through the gate into a field and across the field to the far left hand corner up a slight rise to a stile at map ref. NZ722081.

This morning my friend, Jim, drove us to the car park at the Moors Visitor Centre at Danby in the Esk valley on the North York Moors at map ref. NZ717083. We set off from the car park a little after 10.00am and crossed the footbridge into the wood at the side of the car park. Over the footbridge we turned right and walked along the path by the little stream down the edge of the car park for about 200m.

Woodland path next to the car park
Woodland path next to the car park

Leaving the road near the visitor centre car park
Leaving the road near the visitor centre car park

Stile on to the track above Park House
Stile on to the track above Park House

View from the track above Park House
View from the track above Park House

View from the track above Park House
View from the track above Park House

Purple vetch in the hedgerow
Purple vetch in the hedgerow

Looking across Little Fryup Dale to the Northern end of Danby Rigg
Looking across Little Fryup Dale to the Northern end of Danby Rigg

Rose hip gall in the hedgerow
Rose hip gall in the hedgerow. The gall wasp lavae live & feed inside it

At the road junction we turned left and walked along the road for about 450m. Here we turned right off the road on to the farm access track to Crag Farm. Where the access track turns left just before the farm we continued straight on along a grassy track up the slope towards some woods.

This led us on to an access track which we followed for about 300m to the road junction. Here we turned right to walk down the hill along the lane and under the railway bridge to another road junction at map ref. NZ722077.

Lane coming down the hill from park House
Coming down the hill from the track above Park House

Passing under the Whitby to Middlebrough railway
Passing under the Whitby to Middlebrough railway

Bridge over the River Esk on Crag farm access road
Bridge over the River Esk on Crag Farm access road

Leaving the access road to Crag Farm
Leaving the access road to Crag Farm

Welcome sign at Crag Farm
Welcome sign at Crag Farm

Our track up Little Fryup Dale
Our track up Little Fryup Dale

A good crop of sloes on the blackthorn
A good crop of sloes on the blackthorn

Looking up Little Fryup Dale to a crag on the end of Danby Rigg
Looking up Little Fryup Dale to a crag on Danby Rigg

Looking back down Little Fryup Dale
Looking back down Little Fryup Dale

After about a kilometer we came to the farm access road to Forester's Lodge, a holiday cottage complex now, at map ref. NZ714053.

As we reached the edge of the woods at map ref. NZ728069, we turned right and followed the track along the hillside going up Little Fryup Dale.

Our track up Little Fryup Dale
Track up Little Fryup Dale between the stone gateposts

Colourful male pheasant
Colourful male pheasant

This rabbit thinks we haven't seen it
This rabbit thinks we haven't seen it

Finger post on the access road to Forester's Lodge
Finger post on the access road to Forester's Lodge

Heading for Stonebeck Gate Farm
Heading for Stonebeck Gate Farm

Looking back down Little Fryup Dale with Forester's Lodge on the left
Looking back down Little Fryup Dale with Forester's Lodge on the left

The road at Stonebeck Gate Farm
The road at Stonebeck Gate Farm

At the road we turned right to walk a few hundred metres across Little Fryup Beck and up the slope to a road junction at map ref. NZ710055.

We followed the access road for about 700m to the road at Stonebeck Gate Farm.

Stonebeck Gate Farm
Stonebeck Gate Farm

Path climbing up onto Danby Rigg
Path climbing up onto Danby Rigg from Little Fryup Dale

Path up onto Danby Rigg
Path up onto Danby Rigg

It was a very pleasant spot in the warm sunshine, marred slightly by numerous moorland flies, but a hat seemed to be all that was needed to keep them at bay.

At the junction we crossed the road ahead and took the path straight ahead climbing steadily up the side of Danby Rigg to map ref. NZ710061. There was a lovely view from this point all along Little Fryup Dale and we sat there for an early lunch break.

Our lunchtime view point overlooking Little Fryup Dale
Our lunchtime view point over looking Little Fryup Dale

Path through the heather across Danby Rigg
Path through the heather across Danby Rigg

Path through the heather across Danby Rigg
Path through the heather across Danby Rigg

Path from Danby Rigg down to Ainthorpe
Path from Danby Rigg down to Ainthorpe

The fragments of the others are strewn across the surrounding moor. We followed the path through the heather and down to the road at map ref. NZ706073.

After our break we continued across Danby Rigg, or is it Ainthorpe Rigg here? Anyway the path took us past a standing stone on our left. This is the only stone left standing from an ancient stone circle.

The last stone standing of an ancient stone circle on Danby Rigg
The last stone standing of an ancient stone circle on Danby Rigg

Path from Danby Rigg down to Ainthorpe
Path from Danby Rigg down to Ainthorpe

Heading down the road to Ainthorpe
Heading down the road to Ainthorpe

Roadbridge over the River Esk between Ainthorpe and Danby
Roadbridge over the River Esk between Ainthorpe and Danby

We crossed the bridge over the river and at once crossed the bridge over the railway with Danby station over to our left.

At the road we continued down the hill through the village of Ainthorpe and down to the road bridge over the river Esk at map ref. NZ708083.

The quoits ground opposite the pub in Ainthorpe
The quoits ground opposite the pub in Ainthorpe

Danby railway station
Danby railway station

Roadbridge over the River Esk between Ainthorpe and Danby
Roadbridge over the River Esk between Ainthorpe and Danby

Duke of Wellington Inn at the crossroads in Danby
Duke of Wellington Inn at the crossroads in Danby

At the crossroads we turned right along the side of the pub and continued along the road up quite a steep hill for about 250m to map ref. NZ710086. Here we turned left up a stony track.

We followed the road up the hill through Danby to the crossroads at map ref. NZ707086, with the Duke of Wellington Inn on the corner.

Stony track heading out of Danby
Stony track heading out of Danby

Leaving the track to follow a grassy path by the wall
Looking back along the track from the place where we turned off to follow a grassy path by the drystone wall

grassy path down a steep
Grassy path down a steep hill beside a drystone wall

Gate out of the woods to the road at the Visitor Centre
Gate out of the woods to the road at the Visitor Centre

We left the woods through a gate and crossed the road to walk down the side of the Moors Visitor Centre where we called in for a quick look around before walking through the grounds back to the car park where we had started our walk. The whole route had been 10km and it had taken us almost four hours to walk including our lunch break and photography stops. We stopped for our usual coffee and toasted teacake in Helmsley on the way home to round off a very pleasant walk.

We followed the track round a right hand bend and then at a fork in the track we took the left hand fork going straight ahead. After another 300m we turned right off the track to follow a grassy path down a steep hill beside a drystone wall. After about 200m we came to a path crossing our's and here we turned right. This path took us around the valley side for about 200m to a gate into a wood. Through the gate we followed the path down through the woods for about 150m to the road at map ref. NZ716084.

Gate into the woods leading down to the Visitor centre
Gate into the woods leading down to the Visitor Centre

Sundial on the visitor centre wall
Sundial on the visitor centre wall

The Moors Visitor Centre at Danby in the River Esk Valley
The Moors Visitor Centre at Danby in the River Esk Valley

Background Notes:
This walk starts from the North York Moors National Park Visitor Centre at Danby in the Esk Valley in the northern half of the park. There are all the facilities you'd expect at the centre plus exhibitions and children's play areas. This year is the 60th anniversary of the North York Moors National Park and there's a special exhibition about the landscape at the centre until the 17 July. From the centre we follow a path down the valley, part way up the valley side with pleasant views across to Little Fryup Dale. Then we drop down to cross the River Esk in the valley bottom where it's only a short diversion of about 150m to see the ancient pack horse bridge over the river esk called 'Duck Bridge'. It's named after a local man, George Duck, who was the stonemason who restored the bridge in the mid 1700's. From the valley bottom we follow a path into Little Fryup Dale past Crag Farm. We walk along a path and farm track up Little Fryup Dale with Little Fryup Beck about 300m away to our right. The steep hill which rises to just over 300m, or 1000ft, to our left is called 'Fairy Cross Plain' and is alleged to be the home of fairies. The name Fryup is apparently derrived from the name of the old Norse goddess Frigg who was the wife of Odin, and the Norse word hop normally meaning a land locked bay. Maybe this short valley surrounded by steep hillsides resembled a small bay? I don't know, but anyway Frigg-hop, or Frigg's Bay, became Fri-hop and then Fryup. Incidentally the word 'Friday' has similar origins meaning Frigg's day. Ahead of us as we walk along the valley is the prominent shape of Danby Rigg and this is our next objective. We reach a narrow lane at Stonebeck Gate Farm and from there follow a steep path up the west side of Little Fryup Dale on to Danby Rigg. This moorland plateau is steeped in stone age remains with earthworks, burial mounds and standing stones. The most prominent is a large standing stone by the path. This is the last remaining stone of a large stone circle on this site. We follow the path over Danby Rigg and drop down to the village of Ainthorpe. At the pub here there is a quoits court. That's a grassy area with four clay filled pits about a metre square with lids on to keep the rain out. From a set distance the competing teams throw cast iron rings or quoits aiming for an iron pin set in the middle of the clay target area. The ones that miss the pin stick in the clay. There's a similar quoits court in Great Fryup dale with seats for the spectators, and there is a quoits league here. We cross the Middlebrough to Whitby raiway line on the road bridge and continue along the road to Danby. In the later half of the 1800's Canon Atkinson was the Vicar of Danby and was a renowned amateur archeologist who is famous for his book called 'Forty Years in a Moorland Parish' all about the people and the landscape of the Esk valley around Danby. From Danby village we follow a path over the moor and down a little wooded valley back to the visitor centre and the end of our walk

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