The Danby Beacon dates 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 they were to light up the beacon, which would be the first inland fire of warning.
In the 1930s, the site became 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 to fall on English soil since World War One.
In a letter, The late Peter Townsend talked about the vital part Danby radar station played. He praised the crews of all RAF radar stations who helped to protect the British Isles 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.
When deciding on a design for a replacement a considerable amount of time was spent talking to local people about the project. 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 Danby and the area, celebrating its history.
The beacon is a symbolic as well as a working structure and great care has been taken to choose materials which are in harmony with the surrounding area. The column is constructed of the metal corten - a type of steel. It will, over time, develop a patina reflecting the colours of the moorland.
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.
The beacon was manufactured by M & C Construction of Middlesbrough under the supervision of Brian Gilbraith the project’s engineer who also worked on the Angel of the North.
The Beacon stands over five meters high proudly representing the history and heritage of the parish of Danby.