Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake hike
Starting on the top of Sutton Bank, the route follows the cliff top Cleveland Way, meanders along forest tracks, through rolling farmland and even catches Gormire Lake. This makes for an energetic and varied hike with lots of fantastic views along the way.
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.
|When to do|
March - October
At Sutton Bank car park
Moderate to High
Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake
Route Description for Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake
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 dragging yourself past 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. Soon after the road the path forks, bear left here and follow the higher route ,which passes a 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 2.5km you will find yourself above the White Horse of Kilburn. Not the best view from here – see top tips!
Continue along top of Horse, bearing right to take the steep steps down to the Horse of Kilburn car park, you will have a slightly better view of the horse from here. 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 1.0km 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. Before reaching the 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 100m, here 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 half way 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. 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, continue 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.
Turning left and walk around edge of field to find the gate in the far corner, go through and over small stream. After 10m m 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 0.8km of climbing, exit the farmland through a gate into woodland. Continue steeply uphill to meet a forestry track, 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 3.0km 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.
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.
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