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Esk Valley - Danby Beacon Trust

An image showing Danby Beacon at sunset

Danby Beacon is available for lighting to celebrate your special occasion such as:

  • Birthdays
  • Weddings
  • Anniversaries
  • Graduations etc.
For more information or to book a lighting, please contact Rita Rudsdale Secretary of Danby Beacon Trust on: 01287 660859

Situated North of the village of Danby, is the site of Danby Beacon dating back to the 1600s when the country was living under the threat of invasion from France. It was the duty of a soldier and his wife, stationed upon the moor, to be vigilant and watch for the expected French fleet. If they had sight of them then they were to light up the beacon, which would be the first inland fire of warning.
Since that date, the site was home to one of the first radar stations guarding the North East Coast during the Second World War. The station was responsible for guiding Group Captain Peter Townsend when he intercepted and shot down the first enemy aircraft over England. A letter written by the late Peter Townsend recalls that day. In the letter he talks about how Danby radar station played a vital part in the shooting down of the first German bomber to fall on English soil since World War One.
“I shall never forget that day; Danby Beacon deserves to be remembered by succeeding generations who owe their freedom from Nazi tyranny to the young men and woman, crews of RAF radar stations like Danby, who stuck to their posts and, by their skill and courage helped to protect our island from enemy invasion”.
The radar station continued to function until the 1960's. Danby Beacon is now a national landmark, which is used as a reference point by thousands of visitors and walkers each year. Over the years, the old wooden beacon aged so much that it eventually disintegrated and fell down - the landmark was lost. The design rational involved considerable time talking to local people about the project and a strong feeling was voiced that a relic of former times, was not what people wanted. They wanted a piece of work that the community and visitors alike can recognise as a symbol particular to the Danby and the area, celebrating its history. Designer Don Watt said,
“Great care has been taken to choose materials which are in harmony with the surrounding area. The column is constructed of the metal corten, that, over time, develops a patina reflecting the colours of the moor land. The flame-shaped basket is made out of blued stainless steel, blending in with the sky. The flames are mounted around a cup that is decorated with bronze - a reminder of the Bronze Age burial mound which part occupies the site. However, the beacon is symbolic as well as a working structure. The Beacon stands 5.5 meters high proudly representing the history and heritage of the parish of Danby”.
Finally, on 22nd October 2008, more than 200 people braved the elements to see Lord Downe, President of the Danby Beacon Trust, light the beacon. The ceremony was timed to take place in celebration of Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

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