White Horse Walk

Summary

Distance: 3 miles (5 km)
Estimated Time: 1 hour 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Route: View in Google Maps
Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors – Western area
GPX File: Download GPX file (desktop only) – What is a GPX file?

The White Horse route is a short and easy walk along Sutton Bank in the North Yorkshire Moors. The circular route leads to the top of the White Horse and to the bottom, allowing you to see the White Horse from both perspectives.

The Kilburn White Horse was a project by Thomas Taylor. He saw similar chalk hill figures during his time in the south of England and wanted to create something similar in his hometown.

Thomas Taylor was a teacher local to Kilburn. In 1857, Thomas and his pupils marked and cut the impressive design and deposited 6 tonnes of lime on the greyish rock to whiten it.

The White Horse is 314 feet (96 metres) long and 228 feet (70 metres) high. It had to be covered during World War 2 to stop it becoming a target for German bombers.

Yorkshire Gliding Club

The White Horse Walk passes the Yorkshire Gliding Club so you have a strong chance of seeing many gliders in the sky during your walk.

The Yorkshire Gliding Club is one of the oldest gliding clubs in the world. Gliders need lots of wind to stay airborne and Sutton Bank is very windy. Amy Johnson, the first female to fly solo from Britain to Australia, is the club’s most famous member.

Parking and Travelling

The car park for the start of the White Horse walk is at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre, Sutton Bank, Thirsk, YO7 2EH.

Car parking charges:

  • 0-2 hours – £2.50
  • Over 2 hours – £4.50
  • Coaches – £5.00
  • Motorcycles – £1.50

The car parking machines don’t offer change, but you can pay for your parking at the visitor centre if you need to pay by card or don’t have the correct change.

Route

Kiburn White Horse Walk Route

Head towards the main road, A170, from the Sutton Bank National Park Centre. Carefully cross the busy road to the next path.

Road crossing
White Horse Signpost

The first section has two paths to follow. They end up joining together shortly. Take either path.

Split in path at start of White Horse Walk

There are some good views from the very start of the White Horse walk.

View from Sutton Bank
Path

It won’t take you long before you reach the Yorkshire Gliding Club. You may have already seen the gliders taking off, landing or flying above you.

Yorkshire Gliding Club
Yorkshire Gliding Club glider in the air

The next stop after the Yorkshire Gliding Club is the top of the White Horse of Kilburn. It’s difficult to imagine the horse’s shape from the top. There are stairs leading to the bottom, which grant a much better view of the White Horse.

View from white horse
Steps leading down from top of white horse

Once you’ve finished the steep stairs, walk to the back of the car park to have the best view. There’s often an ice cream van, too.

White horse from the car park

The next section leads you through the woods. Head to the left-hand side of the horse and you’ll find the path. It can often be wet and boggy through the woods, so make sure you have suitable footwear that you don’t mind getting muddy.

Clear path through the woods

Keep right at the fork in the path.

Right turn in woods

The path becomes narrow and is often overgrown.

Narrow path through the woods

At the end of the path, turn left. This is the same path from the Sutton Bank National Park Centre. Follow the path back to the car park.

Turn left on to main path
Return walk from White Horse
Car Park for White Horse Walk

That’s the end of the White Horse of Kilburn walk.