A RELATIVELY short walk, easily accessible from both the Moors and the Dales, the walk takes you along the escarpment near Sutton Bank, the iconic White Horse and some pleasant woodland.

Rather than park at Sutton Bank I prefer parking at the White Horse car park on the zig zags as the road climbs above the village of Kilburn. From here the White Horse is situated on the hillside, just above the car park. Follow the road and steps to the side of the 314 by 218 foot depiction of a horse carved in to the hillside. The limestone (not chalk) carving was the brainchild of Thomas Taylor, a businessman inspired by the similar carvings in the south of England. However the limestone (being greyer than chalk) needed artificial whitening, either by whitewash or chalk chippings from nearby.

Return to the car park and head in to the woods on the forest track heading initially west before bending in to a more northerly direction. Keep to the track for ½ a mmile, always bearing downhill and to the left until a bridlepath is reached in the forest. Turn sharp left for 100metres before turning sharp right and head north along the bridlepath. This is an area of mixed woodland and drops gradually downhill before a gate takes you out of the woods. Cross a field towards the farm of Hood Grange before a left and right takes you on to the main A170.

Turn right for 100 metres and then take the footpath heading north and climbing over open ground. At Gormire Farm turn left and soon arrive at Gormire Lake, one of only 4 natural lakes in Yorkshire. Formed out of glacial melt the lake has a dark, brooding appearance and is a magnet for myths and mysteries. The lake was once thought to be bottomless, the cliffs behind it were the gates to hell which is all a bit odd as today it is peaceful and a magnet for local birdlife. However arrive after dark and you may be confronted with a set of skinny dippers….allegedly it is a popular pastime! Time to move on. The path heads north for a further 300 metres through mixed woodland before meeting a 2nd bridlepath. Turn right, sharply up hill.

This is a steep and direct climb of nearly 500 feet as it leads from the foot to the top of the escarpment. The climb is worthwhile though, on emerging on the scarp the views over the Vale of York and over to the Dales in the far distant are superb, one of the best in Yorkshire. Turn right on to the scarp path and enjoy the next 2 miles, the best part of the day left to last. The path keeps near the edge of the escarpment and after 1 mile arrives at the large car park and visitor centre of Sutton Bank. Pass it and carry on along the edge till you reach the White Horse (below you but sign posted). From here drop down to the car park.

n Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, an outdoor business in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written his own book, the Dales 30, which describes the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates, and learn a skill, climb a hill weekends. To find out more details on any of the above and details of many more walks in the area visit where2walk. co.uk.

Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles

Height to Climb: 250m (820 feet).

Start: SE 515812. The White Horse car park is on the road leading from Kilburn to the White Horse.

Difficulty: Moderate. There is a steep climb up the escarpment and some route finding challenges in the forest but on the scarp the walking is superb.

Refreshments: The Forresters Arms is 1 mile away in Kilburn.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL26) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.