NEAR the attractive village of Danby in the North York Moors is one of the more interesting ‘Beacon’ Hills which pepper our country. It makes for a short walk with great views, and it is easy to add on a little bit of riverside walking near Duck Bridge.

The walk starts in Danby. Start by walking up the single road to the north and 200 metres beyond the Duke of Wellington turn right on to a faint (but signposted) footpath that sticks to a wall. After ten minutes downhill walking return to the quiet road heading east from the village centre. Follow this to the mini village surrounding the North York Moors National Park centre. Hopefully the centre will be open. Continue along the road that now starts to climb steadily east. It is three-quarters of a mile from the centre to a track that leaves the road on your left and continues up hill towards Beacon Hill.

The track soon arrives at the top of the hill and dominated by a large, modern beacon. I was no fan of this modern lamp but at least there is some relationship with times past, the bronze outdoor casing a reminder of the Bronze Age fort which used to be here.

Prior to the bronze beacon there was a wooden one, originally built in the 1600s and part of the network of countrywide beacons that were to be lit in times of crisis, specifically an invasion. This was superseded in the 1930s by one of a network of radar station masts and the one of Beacon Hill drew the British pilot, Peter Townsend, to shoot down the first German plane of the Second World War. Whatever the history the hill has wonderful views, particularly north east towards the sea.

If the summit is busy do walk a few metres away from the beacon to enjoy some peace, this is Access Land so it is free to move off the paths. To return from the beacon head directly south towards the valley floor along one of the many obvious paths. They all converge at a road junction, cross the road and continue down in to the village of Houlsyke. It is a pretty place, little more than a hamlet with lovely stone houses. Leave the village to the south and head over the train track to another road junction. Turn right.

The road parallels the River Esk (to your left) for nearly one mile until reaching the fine pack horse bridge, ‘Duck Bridge’. Sadly it is named after George Duck, a local landowner, who rebuilt the bridge in 1717 and not the small feathery creatures. It is a fine site, though, made of sandstone and Grade II listed.

To the south of the bridge it is possible to view the remains of Danby Castle (three-quarters of a mile round trip). I found it difficult to access any good views of the castle as it is privately owned, but it has a fine history, including being the pre-marriage home of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife.

From Duck Bridge follow the road west back in to the Danby and a welcome drink at the pub.

Fact box: Distance: Roughly 6 miles

Height to climb: 230m (755 feet).

Start: NZ 708087. I parked in the main street near the pub. However there are excellent train and bus links in to Danby.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium. Mainly quiet lanes.

Refreshments: The Duke of Wellington pub is in the centre of Danby.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL27) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk. Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan is the owner of Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

• He has written 3 books on walking in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the ‘Walks without Stiles’ book. All these books (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website.

• Book a Navigation (Map and Compass Skills) Training day near Settle or a bespoke day for a private group. The next available date is Sunday June 30th.

• Join our “Dales 30 Weekenders” in Hawes (June) & Sedbergh (September). also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.