Weekend Walk: Kilburn and Gormire

The view from above the White Horse.
The view from above the White Horse.
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A landmark visible from many points in Yorkshire, the White Horse of Kilburn is a hill figure situated to the south of Sutton Bank on the edge of the North York Moors.

It is 318ft long and 220ft high, and was cut in 1857 by a London merchant Thomas Taylor who grew up in the nearby village of Kilburn. The walk begins in a car park beneath the horse and continues to Gormire Lake, one of Yorkshire’s few natural expanses of freshwater. A steepish climb from here to the top of Sutton Bank takes the route onto the Cleveland Way and what’s claimed to be the Best View in England. Listen for great spotted woodpeckers in the woodland, and watch for red-legged partridges above Gormire Lake.

1. Turn right from the car park and walk downhill with care. Pass another parking area on the right and continue down to find a green metal bridleway signpost. Turn right and follow this clear route through Hood Hill Plantation to arrive in front of Hood Grange farm.

2. Turn left at Hood Beck, turn right to cross a footbridge and cross the farm road to a ladder stile and follow the field path to the A170. Turn right right and walk along the wide verge for about 100 yards. Cross with great care to use a stile next to a gate and cross a field. Go over a stile and bear right on a path to Gormire Farm.

3. From the farm buildings turn left on a green late. Round a left-hand bend follow a bridleway on the east shore of Gormire Lake. Look for a permissive footpath on the right cutting through Garbutt Wood and follow it up to turn right on a path which climbs steeply to the top of Sutton Brow. Go right when the well-made Cleveland Way is reached and follow it to the A170.

4. Cross the road with care to follow the good path signposted to the White Horse. After a mile the famous landmark appears on the right. Beyond it, find a path on the right leading downhill to the car park.

Difficulty rating: 3 star.

Distance: 5 miles

Time: 2 hours.

Map: OS Explorer (1:25,000) sheet OL26, North York Moors Western Area

Parking: Forestry Commission car park beneath the White Horse. OS Grid ref: SE514812. Accessed via minor Hambleton road from Kilburn village, or Kilburn road from top of Sutton Bank.

Public transport: No regular buses or trains are available for this walk.

Refreshments and toilets: Kilburn, North York Moors National Park Information Centre at Sutton Bank.