Esk Valley Walk
We might be biased, but we think that the Esk Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in England.
We've put together a 'Regional Route' – more than a stroll but less than a trek – which means that you can explore its entire length in a long weekend or short walking holiday.
The 37-mile (60km) walk follows the River Esk from its source high on the North York Moors to the coast at Whitby. It’s marked by a special waymark with a leaping salmon – yellow arrows mean a footpath and blue denotes a bridleway.
Route: From Castleton, the route runs up Danby Dale and across the moors to the source of the River Esk, before descending Westerdale and back to Castleton. Then it traces the Esk Valley all the way to the North Sea at Whitby, via Danby, Lealholm, Glaisdale, Egton Bridge and Grosmont.
Duration: The whole route takes three to four days to walk, or it’s easy to split the Esk Valley Walk into shorter, day-walk sections. We've devised one circular walk (from Castleton) and three linear walks (between Castleton and Whitby), but other options are possible.
Transport: The Esk Valley Railway runs between Whitby and Middlesbrough, calling at Castleton Moor, Lealholm and Grosmont stations. Grosmont is also a stop for the heritage services on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
Accommodation: Check out our online Accommodation Guide for places to stay along the route.
Before you go: Read our advice on staying safe while walking, and check any recent changes to rights of way.
Download the Esk Valley Walk
Download the 4 printable routes that make up the 37-mile Esk Valley Walk. Each full-colour route guide comes with a map, complete walking instructions, and information about the sights, places and facilities you'll pass along the way.
The Esk Valley is full of surprises, with some stunning scenery and landscapes to enjoy. Don't miss:
- Spreading heather moorland and narrow wooded gorges
- Fun activities at The Moors National Park Centre, Danby
- Amazing views from Danby Beacon
- Fishing on Yorkshire’s principal salmon river
- Moorland crosses on Blakey Rigg
- Stepping stones at Lealholm and Egton Bridge
- Grosmont and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
- Riverside walk from Ruswarp to Whitby
Did you know?
The name, Esk, stems from an ancient Celtic word ‘Isca’, meaning water or stream, and the valley is rich in historical remains from prehistoric earthworks to medieval packhorse bridges.
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