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White Horse Walk photo by Mike Kipling

White Horse Walk

The classic walk from Sutton Bank National Park Centre takes you to the famous turf-cut hillside landmark, the White Horse of Kilburn. It’s a 3-mile route that follows the dramatic escarpment edge for magnificent views, then drops down on woodland paths beneath the cliffs before climbing back up beside the horse itself. The finest view in England, said local author James Herriot – what do you think?

Walk info

Great for:
big-sky views, list-tickers
Length:
3 miles (4.8km)
Time:
2 hours
Start/Finish:
Sutton Bank National Park Centre car park
Grid Ref:
SE 516 830
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL26
Refreshments:
Sutton Bank National Park Centre
Toilets:
Start/Finish of walk

About this walk

WalkThe start of the walk involves crossing a busy main road – take great care. The route out and back along the escarpment edge follows a hard, compacted, level path, with no gates or stiles. The descent into the woods can be muddy and slippery when wet. There's also a steep ascent, up stone steps, by the side of the White Horse.

DogsThe route along the escarpment follows an unfenced cliff edge and runs beside the gliding club landing area – please keep your dog on a lead at all times on this path.

Kilburn White Horse

Kilburn White Horse is the most northerly turf-cut figure in Britain and one of the most famous landmarks in North Yorkshire. It's easily visible from the south, below Sutton Bank, and while it's difficult to get a sense of its scale from the path on the escarpment edge above, there are steps down the side which give a closer view.

The horse dates from 1857, when the outline of the horse was marked out by the Kilburn village schoolmaster and his pupils. The horse was then cut into the limestone underneath – to make it more visible today, chalk chippings are added at intervals.

Yorkshire Gliding Club

Members of the Yorkshire Gliding Club have flocked to Sutton Bank since 1933 to take advantage of the air rising up and over the escarpment edge. In fact the shape of the land is so suitable for gliding that the Club altitude record stands at over 33,000 feet. As you follow the escarpment edge you might see gliders taking off and landing on the grassy land to the east of the path. It is never safe to walk on to this land. Gliders approach the field from any direction and they are silent, so you will have no warning to get out of the way.