North York Moors

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Danby Castle photo by Mike Kipling

Danby Castle

Danby Castle – ancestral home of the Danby Estate – lies high up on a spur overlooking the Esk Valley. Down in the dale stands the estate’s former hunting lodge, now The Moors National Park Centre, and this pleasant 2-mile circular walk follows a well-trodden path between the two. It’s a charming route for a summer’s day, on quiet field paths and country lanes, and there’s a stop on the way back at Danby’s lovely old Duck Bridge. It’s only a short walk, but come for the day and you can also enjoy the displays and activities at The Moors Centre – there’s plenty of space for a picnic, as well as a café.

Walk info

Great for:
history buffs, family walks
2 miles (3.2km)
1 hour
The Moors National Park Centre, Danby
Grid Ref:
NZ 717 083
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL26
The Moors National Park Centre, Danby
Start/Finish of walk

About this walk

WalkThe walk starts right from The Moors National Park Centre in Danby, and follows field paths to reach the castle before returning on country lanes via Duck Bridge. There's a fairly gentle ascent to the castle, and no stiles en route. Please take care when crossing the railway line, and when walking on the road on the way back.

DogsPlease keep your dog on a short lead where livestock is present, and be aware of traffic, cyclists and other road users.

Manor, castle and court

Lord Latimer's 14th-century estate stretched as far as the eye could see, but although Danby Castle has a commanding position it was never meant as a fortification. Danby Manor had valuable land and Latimer was a rich man. He built his castle as a sign of his great wealth and it became the centre of a successful farming enterprise. Set around an inner courtyard, the castle had no keep but strong outer walls and angled towers at the four corners. The farmhouse is an extension of the southwest tower, while the building which faces the road houses the banqueting hall or Courtroom, where the Danby Court Leet regularly meet.

Duck Bridge

As you return to The Moors Centre, you will pass a very narrow humpbacked packhorse bridge known as Duck Bridge. Like the castle, the bridge bears the coat of arms of the Neville family who owned the manor of Danby in the 15th century. Originally built in 1396, the bridge was rebuilt in the 18th century by one George Duck, and it remained in use for vehicle traffic until 1993 when a ford was built to prevent further damage to the parapet.