Rather unusually the village of Danby sits a little bit away from the dale. Danby Beck runs into the Esk on the eastern side of Castleton. Danby village is a mile to the east, and on the opposite side of the Esk, while Danby Castle is further east, nearer to Little Fryup Dale than Danby Dale.
Castleton is thus the main village of the dale, running sideways (west-to-east) across the mouth of the valley, on a spur that runs east/ north-east from Castleton Rigg. As a result those houses south of the main road have views into Danby Dale and those houses north of the main road look down onto the Esk.
The dale is bordered by two fine ridges - Danby Rigg to the east is walking country, crossed by rights of way and with a path along the western edge of the ridge. To the west is Castleton Rigg, narrower and more dramatic, but also carrying two parallel roads. Luckily a nice path runs along the highest part of this ridge, between the two roads.
The northern half of Danby Rigg is dotted with archaeological sites. These include the Triple Dike that runs across the Rigg, two sets of field systems, a settlement and a standing stone.
At the southern end of Danby Dale is the village of Botton. Most of the inhabitants are part of a Camphill Community, a residential centre for adults with learning disabilities who work on the surrounding farms and workshops.
On the moors to the south-west of Danby Dale is Ralph Cross, the symbol of the National Park.
Grid Reference: NZ 693 019 to NZ 693 083
Our walk into Westerdale starts at Castleton and runs along Castleton Rigg, with views into Danby Dale.