- River Esk, North Yorkshire
Infobox River | river_name = River Esk
caption = The River Esk near its mouth at Whitby
origin =Westerdale Moor
length = 45 km
The River Esk is a
riverin North Yorkshire, Englandthat empties into the North Seaat Whitbyafter a course of around Convert|28|mi|km|lk=off through the valley of Eskdale, named after the river itself.
Due to its rural nature, the river is clean and healthy, supporting a wealth of wildlife. Samon spawn right up through Eskdale, and a number of "leaps" are provided to enable them to travel through weirs on the course. There are clearly visible examples at
Ruswarp, where the tidal stretch through to Whitby begins and at Sleights. Around Whitby the Esk has a large population of Sea Trout, and the river is noted for freshwater pearl mussels, although these are threatened with extiction due to buildups of siltin the river. [ cite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/content/articles/2007/11/27/esk_mussels_feature.shtml |title=Nurturing new life - Wonders of the Esk mussel |accessdate=2008-05-17|date=2007-11-28 |publisher=BBC ] . The Esk is also the only major river in Yorkshireto drain directly into the North Sea[ cite web|url=http://www.ecn.ac.uk/sites/esk.html |title=ECN Freshwater Sites - River Esk |accessdate=2008-05-17|publisher=Environmental Change Network ]
The river rises at the Esklets on
WesterdaleMoor in the North York Moors, flowing through Westerdale before merging with a large number of becks from the surrounding hills, including Tower, Baysdale, Sleddale, Danby, Great Fryup, Stonegate, Glaisdale and Murk becks. Running east through the valley known as Eskdale it leaves the moors via the villages of Sleights and Ruswarp, reaching the North Sea three miles later by bisecting the resort of Whitby.
Part way down the river at Danby bridge, there is a ford in which vehicles can get trapped. [ cite web|url=http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3G5Y |title=The river Esk ford at Danby Bridge N.Yorkshire Moors. |accessdate=2008-04-30 |last=fellsmanhiker |date=2008 |publisher=Groundspeak Inc. ]
Between the junction of Fryupdale and
Lealholmthe river passes through a narrow, steep sided and wooded valley known as Crunkly Ghyll. Here the river drops Convert|100|ft|m|lk=on from the valley above to reach the village. Crunkly Ghyll was formed during the last great ice age as a huge wall of ice moved across the landscape carving out what is now the Esk Valley as far as Lealholm. At its head it formed a massive dam blocking the flow of water from above and creating a lake running back up the valley to Commondale. As the ice melted, the river forced its way out carving the ravine we see today. In Victorian times, the Ghyll was home to a large rockery garden, open to the public, but long since washed away by flooding of the river.
The small villages along the river were at one time of great industrial importance to the north east, with
coalmined in the valleys, and iron oredug from quarries on the surrounding moors. Today, all that remains are the deserted mine shafts, though potashis mined, near Boulby, with tunnels running six miles beneath the sea, some of the deepest in Europe.
(flows into the North Sea)
Esk Valley Walkruns along part of the length of the river.
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