Kilburn White Horse and Gormire Lake Walk

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3.5-4.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
13.5 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
313 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.8
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panoramic views from the Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake walk in North York Moors, England

Starting at the top of Sutton Bank, the Kilburn White Horse and Gormire Lake walk follows the cliff top Cleveland Way, meanders along forest tracks, through rolling farmland and catches glimpses of Gormire Lake. This makes for an energetic and varied hike with many fantastic views along the way.

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Route Description

From the car park, cross the main road to join the Cleveland Way. Should you need to use the toilet, refreshments or get more information about the route, you can find that at the Information Centre here. There are no stop offs along the way, so stock up now! Begin the route by passing the signpost signaling ‘the finest view in England’ – you will be passing it later and it is worth the wait.

The Cleveland way is a well-marked gravel track. Shortly after the road the path forks, bear left and follow the higher route, which passes a gorgeous viewpoint. Follow the Cleveland Way along the cliff top, soon passing the airfield of Yorkshire Gliding Club above Roulston Scar on your left. After approximately 1.6 mi you will find yourself above the White Horse of Kilburn. From here, there is not the best view so see top tips!

Continue along the top of Horse, bearing right, and take the steep steps down to the Horse of Kilburn car park, where you will have a slightly better view of the horse. Cross the small lane and follow the footpath downhill along the side of the road. The path finishes and joins the lane opposite a car park. Again, continue downhill on the road to pass the car park. Around the corner turn right onto a gated tarmac track signposted as a bridleway, go through the gate and follow! The track soon becomes a single-track gravel footpath; continue straight ahead on to this.

This path takes you uphill through a small woodland and then joins a larger forested track – veer left to join this track. After approximately 0.6 mi you will come to a major fork, bear left here. Before the forest, the track turns sharply to the left, take a small footpath on your right signposted for Hood Grange/A170. This footpath will bring you out onto open farmland. An obvious footpath now leads you straight across a field towards farm buildings and before reaching these buildings, the footpath will direct you left around the edge of a small paddock alongside a small burn. At the end of the paddock, cross the burn to head up around the side of the buildings and continue straight ahead towards a small stile that will take you on to the main road.

Turn right along the road and walk along the verge for approximately 328 ft and cross the road to climb another stile into a hilly farm field. Head diagonally uphill across the field. This is the first of several steep inclines – remember to turn back at the top and enjoy the view (or just to catch your breath). Climb over the stile and head across the field to the gate located halfway along the hedge line to your left. From here you follow the tack up to Gormire Farm. Go through the gate and into the farmyard, pass in front of the barn to join a track, turn left and pass up the right-side of the barn.

Shortly, you will come to a junction where you will bear right, following the sign to Southwoods. This leads you down to the shores of Gormire Lake – a mysterious and isolated spot. Continue along this footpath as it draws away from the shoreline, ignoring several merging paths. Soon the path meets a larger bridleway, continuing down and around to the left to a small lane opposite a pretty cottage. Turn right in front of the house and follow the bridleway to the entrance of Southwoods Hall. Cross the driveway and follow the hedge line for 100 m before turning right through a gate to join the Southwoods Hall driveway.

Turn left and walk around the edge of the field to find the gate in the far corner, go through and over a small stream. After 33 ft,  bear left through the gate into a small meadow area, and continue to follow signs to the Cleveland Way. The footpath winds up across rugged farmland – small blue arrows attached to strategically placed posts keep you on track. After 0.5 mi of climbing, exit the farmland through a gate into woodland. Continue steeply uphill to meet a forestry track and turn right, then immediately left to again, continue uphill. Ignore the path leading off to the left and continue uphill to meet a gravel track on the peak of the hill.

Turn right following the Cleveland Way signs that will lead you along the ridge for 1.9 mi back to Sutton Bank. Don’t forget the view – just short of the car park you will see signs and information reminding you of the spectacular vistas out across the plains below.

Trail highlights

Kilburn White Horse

Kilburn White Horse is a figure that is cut into the side of a hillside in North York Moors National Park. The horse figure is 318 ft long by 220 ft high and covers approximately 1.6 acres. The Kiburn White Horse is the largest and most Northerly figure on a hill in all of England.

The horse was created in 1857 and was produced by a local school teacher along with his students. The White Horse is said to symbolize freedom without restraints.

Gormire Lake

Gormire Lake is a lowland lake that is natural and can be found at the base of Whitestone Cliff. There is no water source that flows in or out of the lake which makes it ideal for swimmers and creates warm waters and little current.

Gormire Lake dates back to being found over 20,000 years ago and was created by glacial erosion. The lake is a somewhat shallow lake and runs 6 m deep.

Find more amazing walks in North York Moors National Park:

Insider Hints

  • Head back via the village of Kilburn for a fine view of the Horse of Kilburn and a much-needed debrief at the village pub!
  • Pack a lunch, sit and enjoy post ascent back up on to the Cleveland Way – several strategically placed benches and grassy spots available!
  • During school holidays and on those sunny days the car park will get busy, so go early to avoid the crowds.

Getting There

To get to the trailhead of Kilburn White Horse and Gormire Lake walk, head to Sutton Bank. Parking is available at the National Park Information Centre at the top of Sutton Bank, postcode YO7 2EH. Parking costs £4.50 for anything over 2.5 hours. The drive up to Sutton Bank is particularly steep – a heavy foot on the accelerator may be required! From Thirsk, take the Sutton Road up to Sutton Bank. Here the Information Centre is well signposted and easy to find.

Route Details

  • When to do

    March - October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    At Sutton Bank car park

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate to High

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Elevation Graph

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