happyhiker logo



Privacy & Cookie Policy

My Walks

List of
Ordnance Survey Maps

Walking Time Calculator

Hiking Store


Finding Your way



Right to Roam

Footpath Closures


About Me/Site




Famous Walkers/Hikers


© John Kelly
All Rights Reserved


Feedback button

Kindle Books

20 Yorkshire Walks with only one map OL21

Kindle book - My Lanzarote. 10 walks and a personal view

Kindle Book And A Pub For Lunch

20 Walks in the Yorkshire Dales with only one map OL2

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Walk From Kilburn 

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

Kilburn White Horse free car park (SE 514812)

Ordnance Survey Map

OL 26 – North york Moors – Western Area.

Buy this map from
List of OS Maps

Distance: 11.2 miles (or 9 miles – see text)

Traffic light rating:   or
                                 (see text)

(For explanation see My Walks page)

Memory Map logo     gpx logo 

For advice on .gpx files see         My Walks page

PDF logo

 Click the PDF logo above to give a printable version of this walk without the photos.

Walk from Kilburn Sketch map

Introduction: This walk from Kilburn (or more correctly from the Kilburn White Horse car park) can also be treated as a walk from Boltby as it is a circular walk. It can also be done from the North York Moors Visitors Centre at the top of Sutton Bank but this is a pay and display car park whereas the White Horse car park is free!

It is a walk packed with interesting sights:

Gormire Lake – a lovely, spring fed, natural lake surrounded by Garbutt Forest, and the only natural lake in the national Park;

Boltby – a very attractive tranquil village with a pretty church;

Impressive cliffs -  Boltby Scar, Whitestone Cliff and Roulston Scar;

North York Moors Visitors’ Centre (toilets here);

Fabulous views;

Yorkshire Gliding Club - where you are very likely to see gliders landing and taking off;

The famous White Horse of Kilburn - created in 1857 by one Thomas Taylor of Kilburn who, having seen similarly created figures in the South, wanted a notable creation for his village. The White Horse is clearly visible for miles, indeed, that is the point, but as you pass close to its top, it is so large and drops away so steeply, you cannot get much of an impression of its shape. What is remarkable is that it has survived so long without the limestone chippings slipping down the hill, a feat which owes its success to a number of strategically placed boards/pegs. Please do not attempt to walk on it at the steepness would make this dangerous, not to mention the damage.




To view route as a dynamic Ordnance Survey
                        map click here.

The route as described in full is 11.2 miles but it can be shortened to 9 miles if required. See # below. The going is mostly easy but there is a section of steep climb to the top of the escarpment whether the longer or shorter route is selected.

The easiest way to find the White Horse car park is to turn south off the A170 where a brown tourist sign indicates “Yorkshire Gliding Club” and “White Horse” at SE 523829 and follow the road for 1.3 miles. The turn off the A170 is half a mile east of the top of Sutton Bank, or just beyond the Hambleton Inn if coming from the east.

Start: From the White Horse car park (SE 514812), turn right and walk down the road for half a mile. Just after passing a rough car parking area on the right, turn right, along a broad very obvious bridleway (SE 515806).

When the broad track turns left to a farm, keep straight ahead on the narrow footpath. Follow this until you come out of the trees, then join a broad forest track and turn left. When this forks, go left.

Stay on this track ignoring any turns off until you come to a bridleway going off to the right with a fingerpost for “Bridleway”, “Hood Grange” and “A170”. Take this. It descends to a large field which you cross to Hood Grange which is clearly visible once you reach the field.

At Hood Grange (SE 504823), turn left through a gate and walk along the left hand bank of the beck. You zig-zag round the Grange and on reaching its drive, turn left and follow it to the road (A170).

Turn left at the road for a few yards then right on a tarmac drive to High Cleaves Farm – there is a public bridleway post (SE 500825). As you get to the gates of the farm, turn right almost back on yourself, then, after no more than about 10 yards, turn left following the blue bridleway arrow.

Follow the left hand boundary of the field and through the gateway at the bottom, turn left along a fenced track. Follow the blue bridleway arrows to the end of the fenced track, then after going through a gate, the bridleway bears left but you turn right along by a hawthorn hedge. A yellow footpath arrow marks the path.

The path wends its way down and through the trees and turns right at a fingerpost for “Gormire” (SE 501832). The path joins the lakeside path by a fingerpost indicating left is a “Permissive Path Lake Circuit” but turn right here to walk round the southern end of the lake.

Gormire Lake

Gormire Lake

Follow the lake anti-clockwise ignoring any minor paths off to the right (and the lakeside circuit path following the northern shore), until you reach a three-way fingerpost showing bridleways in all directions. Go left here down to the road.

The continuation of the route is to the right of the cottage you come to at the road (Southwoods Cottage) (SE 502838).

At the drive to Southwoods Hall, go straight ahead through the walkers’ gate for “Tang Hall and South Woods”. Follow the right hand field boundary, passing another fingerpost for Tang Hall. When the fence turns the corner at a right angle, follow it round (SE 500847). The path starts to climb gently. The route is now difficult to describe but it is clear on the ground and is well marked with posts.

Cross a stile into a steeply sloping field by a farm. Ahead under the trees, you should catch sight of a fingerpost
(SE 500854). Make your way to it and turn right to follow the left hand boundary of the field, before going through a gate into the woods. Your route then follows the left hand edge of the trees.

Almost at the end of the trees, there is a three-way fingerpost (SE 499857). # Right is for “Little Moor” and the route to shorten the walk to the top of the escarpment (see sketch map). For the full circuit, keep straight ahead for Boltby. At a fork, go left.

The rough track gives way to a tarmac lane, passing Fernleigh Farm.

You get to the junction with the road at Boltby (SE 892866). It is worth a brief interlude to go left here and stroll for a few minutes through this tranquil attractive village but our route goes right here.

Boltby Church

Walk up the road out of Boltby. As the road curves left, look out for the footpath on the right via a wooden stile between two stone posts.

The footpath descends to a beck which is crossed by a small footbridge. Shortly cross a second stream by footbridge, then begins the hard work!

Climb the hill and at the trees, follow their left hand edge. The path rises to a short stretch of level ground where you turn right (SE 502868). A blue bridleway arrow indicates the route. The path now zig-zags up the hill, guided by the blue arrows, arriving at the top by farm buildings and where a fingerpost indicates you have joined the Cleveland Way (SE 507867). Turn right.

View near Boltby

View near Boltby

You now follow the Cleveland way along the top of the escarpment, passing Boltby Scar and Whitestone Cliff, from where is a spectacular view of Gormire Lake below. There are some steep drops along here so do not get too close to the edge.

Whitestone Cliff and Gormire Lake

Stay on this path until you reach the North York Moors National Park Visitors Centre at the top of Sutton Bank
(SE 514830).

From the Centre car park, cross the A170 and to the left of the white milestone saying “Thirsk 6 miles”, take the well manicured footpath to its left. When the path splits, take the left fork signposted for “White Horse ½ mile”.

Roulston Scar

Gormire Lake

To the left along here is the Yorkshire Gliding Club. Gliders/planes land and take off here so do not venture off the path.

Pass immediately above the White Horse. Although this famous figure can be seen clearly from various places in Yorkshire and at some distance, this close to it, it is impossible to make out its shape because it is so big. You meet the head first and the large clump of grass is its eye. A sign tells you when you have reached it.

Immediately past the White Horse, turn right to descend the steep steps back to the car park.

If you need to buy any hiking equipment/clothing before your trip see the Hiking Store

All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.