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Cyclists on moorland roads by Tony Bartholomew

Esk Valley West and Westerdale

The western road circuit out of The Moors Centre follows minor valley and moorland roads, and combines a run along the upper Esk Valley with a sweeping ride across the high moorland above Commondale and Westerdale. It’s a fairly lonely ride at times – nearly all the pubs and drink stops are on the first part of the route – but the views are magnificent. You end with a ride through quiet Danby Dale, with the pub at Ainthorpe or the café at The Moors Centre providing a welcome finish.

Cycle route info

Route type:
Road route
Distance:
18 miles (30km)
Time:
2½ hours
Start point:
The Moors National Park Centre, Danby - ride anti-clockwise
Cycle hire
Grid Ref:
NZ 717 083
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL26
Refreshments:
The Moors Centre, Danby, Castleton, Commondale, Ainthorpe

About this cycle route

Road route, for road bikes and hybrids.

Starting-point for this western loop of the Esk Valley is The Moors National Park Centre at Danby, 15 miles from Whitby, where there's visitor parking, cycle parking, a café, and a shop selling cycle guides and maps.

It's a reasonably challenging route, with some steep ascents and descents, following minor country roads and lanes. It passes through several characteristic moorland villages and gives riders both a taste of the heather-clad moors and of the wide, flat, farmed valley bottoms. 

Route highlights!

  • The wind in your hair on the moorland ride
  • Stop at Duck Bridge, a handsome packhorse crossing near The Moors Centre
  • Visit the bakery in Danby for high-energy snacks!
  • Detour to Botton village and its creamery, café and shop