Danby and Lealholm

As you dip down the steep hillsides from the vast openness of the higher moorland into the gentler reaches of the Esk Valley, the villages of Danby and Lealholm are like a big welcome hug.

The characterful stone cottages in Danby would once have been occupied by workers on the nearby country estate. Wander along the quiet lanes and you will soon see signs of the area’s heritage, including a shooting lodge, now our National Park Centre, and Danby Castle, which stands on an escarpment spur above the village.

The castle was the estate’s manor court and farmhouse, and once the residence of Catherine Parr before she became the sixth wife of Henry Vlll.

Danby Dale Credit Paul Kent
Danby Dale Credit Paul Kent

The moorland above is crisscrossed by ancient tracks, including the Pannierman’s Causeway, and is crowned by the 299-metre high Danby Beacon, with sweeping 360-degree views.

Dating back to the 1600s, the original beacon was lit by soldiers to alert the country of an imminent French invasion. The site became one of Britain’s first RAF radar stations in World War II and was notable for helping guide a pilot to shoot down the first enemy aircraft on English soil since World War I.

From the Beacon, follow the Esk Valley Walk to reach pretty Lealholm at the bottom of a steep ravine called Crunkly Ghyll. The village’s name means ‘the settlement by the willow trees’ and it developed as a handy point for crossing the River Esk downstream from the ravine.

What is special about Danby and Lealholm

Plan your visit

Plan your visit

Getting here

Esk Valley Railway – stations at Danby and Lealholm

Arriva 96 (Whitby to Lealholm)

Seasonal bus service in summer - Moorsbus

North York Moors Cycleway passes through Danby

Walk 5.75 miles from Grosmont to Lealholm on the Esk Valley Walk


Car parks: Danby Lodge YO21 2NB (pay and display) and Lealholm village (free)

Nearest public EV charging points – Whitby

Bike hire and repair Yorkshire Cycle Hub

Pub, health shop and bakery in Danby village; café at Danby Lodge

Post office, village store and tea rooms (Lealholm)


Visitor information from Danby Lodge YO21 2NB

Our booklet ‘Walks around Danby Lodge’ has five glorious walks with maps and information. Available to buy from our National Park Centre

Public toilets

Danby Lodge National Park Centre YO21 2NB – accessible (RADAR key needed)

Lealholm – in the village car park

Help our rivers

There’s lots we can all do to help our rivers, either at home or out and about. Here’s a few tips.

View all share with care
Keep it clean, stop the spread

Keep it clean, stop the spread

Respect wildlife

Respect wildlife

Stick to paths

Stick to paths

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