This old favourite takes you to the top of the most northerly white horse in England. The path is directly above the White Horse so you can’t see much of the horse itself, but the linear route along the escarpment gives you ample opportunity to savour one of the finest views in England, from the top of Sutton Bank.
Walk infoGreat for: easy access, big-sky views Length: 1¾ miles (2.7km) Time: 1 hour 30 minutes 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
The start of the walk involves crossing a busy main road – take great care. The path out and back along the escarpment edge has a hard, compacted surface, with no gates or stiles. The route rises gently in places with a gradient of no more than 1 in 12. Beyond the White Horse, the path continues to a lay-by with space for three cars (additional parking may be available across the road) – you could arrange to be picked up here.
The 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. At 314 feet long and 228 feet high 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. It 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.
Did you know?
It's limestone, not chalk, under the horse but if it looks grey, don't worry – the white horse is regularly 'groomed' by the Kilburn White Horse Association.