Along the Esk Valley

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The River Esk - Yorkshire's premier Salmon-fishery - meets the North-sea at Whitby; but its journey down the gorgeous Esk Valley takes in some of the prettiest villages in the whole of Yorkshire.

Listed below are some of our favourite places that are well worth a visit if you're holidaying in either Spyglass 1708 in Whitby or Rosella Cottage in Rosedale Abbey.

An added benefit of a stay with us in Whitby is that you can catch the train up the scenic Esk Valley line to any of the villages mentioned below.


The classic high moors “linear village” of Castleton sits close to the source of the River Esk.  One of the larger Esk Valley villages, Castleton is well worth a visit.  There is even the remnants of a Norman era “motte and bailey” Castle which gives the village its name (now a private house and not open to visitors).

For eating or drinking, you’ll find The Eskdale Public House down in the valley near the railway station and cricket pitch.  The Downe Arms is also pleasant and sits in the centre of the village on the ridge.  It is also one of our favourites for Sunday lunch.  There is also a Natwest Bank, small Co-op Supermarket, Post Office, Primary School, tea rooms and several artisan shops.  You can also catch the train to here for the beautiful run up the Esk Valley from Whitby or simply spend some time walking around the village to soak up the atmosphere.  The kids playing area down by the Esk River is very nice for smaller children.

Castelton sign

The High Moors are Criss-crossed by Numerouns Well-signed Walking Paths.


Over the Moor from Castleton towards the coast sits the pretty little hamlet of Ainthorpe.  It’s really a “linear” village typical of the uplands in North Yorkshire because the houses straggle along the road between Castleton and Danby on the higher ground above the Esk River.  Make sure to visit the Fox and Hounds public house where “quoits” is played on the village green on longer summer evenings.  It's worth a visit just for that.  Close by are “Duck Bridge”, Danby Castle and the North York Moors National Park Centre. All are worth a visit.

Looking towards blakey ridge

Winter Sun in Danby Dale - 1st January 2013!

Danby Dale

Danby sits astride the River Esk in upper Eskdale and is also well worth a visit.  You’ll find the North Yorkshire Moors Visitor Centre here which always has lots going on; no matter what the time of year.  Danby Castle and “Duck Bridge” are also near-by.

For eating or drinking, you’ll find The Duke of Wellington right in the middle of the village and close to the railway station.  There is a village shop, bakery and cafe, Doctors Surgery and Post Office.  You can catch the train to here for the beautiful run up the Esk Valley from Whitby or simply spend some time walking in the village.  There is an old water mill on the Esk which is open some days so worth checking out.


A pretty hamlet in the upper Esk Valley and worth a visit for the scenic drive to get there.

Once there, you’ll find the Board Inn for a drink or dining and a village café for somewhere else to eat.  There is also an art gallery with local artist in residence.  Young kids (or the young at heart) will love the stepping stones across the river at Lealholm.  There is also a very deep pool so take care.

Egton Bridge

Egton and Egton Bridge are near-neighbour villages along the Esk Valley and well worth the scenic drive or cycle from either Whitby or Rosedale.  Egton Bridge is down in the valley while Egton is up the (steep) hill.  It’s a bugger to cycle up!  You’ll find the Wheatsheaf Inn here as well as the Ye Horseshoe which are both great pubs for a meal or a pint.  There are also the Postgate Inn and The Horseshoe Hotel in Egton Bridge.

Bottom Horseshoe Egton Salmon

See this Massive Esk River Salmon in the Bottom Horseshoe Hotel at Egton Bridge.

Egton is home to one of the largest Agricultural Shows in the Region which is a fun day out if you’re in North Yorkshire during August.  For a bit of history, the show has been running since 1269 when King Henry III granted it a Royal License.  There is also the annual Gooseberry Show held each summer - the only one of its type remaining in England.


Internationally famous as far away as Australia and New Zealand; Goathland is better known by its alias as “Aidensfield” in the hit TV show “Heartbeat”.  If you’re a big fan, you can visit the Aidensfield Arms, Mostyns Garage, and Aidensfield Stores and Post Office.

Thomason Foss waterfall Beck Hole - Colin Carter

Thomason Foss Waterfall at Beckhole near Goathland.

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