Starting from Castleton Station, turn right past the pub and over the River Esk, then right after the bridge along the road to Westerdale. After half a mile, a wooden fingerpost sends you huffing and puffing straight up the slope to Castleton village. Turn right along the road and follow it as it bends left towards Hutton-Le-Hole. After that left turn, you will see a grassy path on your left. Go through a gate and follow the lower of 2 routes as it swerves down with a wall on your left.
Go straight on past an elbow in the wall, and edge downhill to meet another wall on your left. You have lovely views of Danbydale from here, which won’t really leave you until you get to Ainthorpe. After half a mile, climb a stile in the wall to head down through a field on your left, Pass through a waymarked gate at the bottom left corner, as you head back in the general direction of Castleton.
This track takes you to Didderhowe Farm and as you get level with the main farmhouse, turn right to head for another waymarked gate in the hedge/fence opposite.
In the next field, keep the hedge on your left as you head down through another gate. As you cross over a small stream, the Esk Valley walk goes off to the right. Instead, turn sharp left after the bushes in front of you, and go through another marked gate. Soon the track takes you through another gate and you’ll be surprised to find you are already in South America. The Llamas and Alpacas will look at you wondering what both you and them are doing here, but they are friendly creatures so head on through the pampas to a marked iron gate to the left of some sheds.
Go over the stream, then turn right through a further gate by the side of that stream. After 150 yards, the path heads up and away from Danby Back. You are skirting around the modern looking Brookfield farm and soon emerge onto the quiet Wandels Lane. Turn right, and after less than half a mile, you’ll reach a gate across the road. Just before the gate, take a path heading left. Remain close to the wall ignoring other paths heading up Danby Low Moor, until you reach the impressive Howe Farm. Pass through the gravel farmyard and through a gate. A path goes straight on here, but you need to take another path that hugs the wall on the right. After 100 yards,cross the wall over a ladder stile and head left adjacent to the wall. At the end of that field, do a slight u-turn to cross a well camouflaged stone stile, then it’s left to climb another stile immediately in front of the spooky Danby Vicarage.
Turn left along the lane and after 50 yards go right into Parsonage Farm. Bear slightly right to cross a a stile that looks like it only just made it past bonfire night, then follow the path as it curves left alongside a ditch. Follow this over 2 or 3 stiles until reaching the back road in Ainthorpe village. Another wide path soon heads off right and emerges next to the Fox and Hounds pub, but if you want to go straight back to Danby, follow the road for a mile through the village and down hill over the river to Danby Station, and the excellent Duke of Wellington Inn further up the road.
The route back to Castleton from Danby Station, is rather easier to describe. Head left after emerging on to the main road from the station access track, then quickly go left into a rural cul-de-sac of lovely old cottages. This track curves right, turning into an old stone trod and soon deposits you on the back road from Danby to Castleton. Turn left on the road down the hill, then as the road begins to curve left, take a clear grass track into the bracken on your right. Follow this on the same level until you go through a gate into Danby Park – a silver birch wood – then head straight on passing, after a mile or so, Park nook farm on your left. Drop steeply down through a gully and you emerge right next to the access track of Castleton station (though another 100 yards would take you to the excellent Eskdale Inn!)