SUTTON Bank was frosty and the air was clear, so it was a good day for the ‘finest view in England’. Hood Hill cast a shadow on silver fields. The Pennines, beyond the plains, were white with snow.

I headed along the Cleveland Way and every few hundred yards met wrapped-up walkers but no one sat on the benches to freeze for the scenery, al though there is a board of information about Turner sketching here in 1816.

This mile along the edge is great for children, bar the steep drops; it does not lose drama. Gliders were towed into the sky, and then glided back down. The White Horse, 300 foot long and chalked on the bank, was made in 1857, too late for Turner’s pencil.

If you are with family, then the horse may mark your point of return, because the many steps down beside it are not particularly family friendly and anyway, from the bottom the horse is foreshortened to a bit of a blob. For a good view you need distance. Kilburn seemed appropriate and coincidentally has an ‘open all day every day’ pub.

I nipped down through the woods, taking a route away from the sound of shotguns that were to reverberate all day, and soon reached a beautifully lettered millstone and by it the horse view bench.

Now I could focus on food. The Forresters Arms did the required, and reminds of Kilburn’s other fame as the home of the Thompson furniture company. The pub’s fire is lit with their oak offcuts and one could, if appropriate, play ‘find the mice’. I sat at a table carved with an early version of the Mousey Thompson rodent.

Kilburn is set low at 300 feet, Sutton Bank stands at near 1,000. Now you need those calories. Passing through the exclusive enclave of High Kilburn, the leader of the Rowntree Moor and Fell walking club asked if I was carrying a Kit Kat. As regards the spiritual, on a gorse bank, just concentrate; there’s a brief sight, down a valley, of the skeleton of Byland Abbey two miles away.

Then it all simplifies to the climb. Strip off a layer, remove that new woolly hat, it’s steadily up for over half a mile, and yet I warmed as the air cooled with the altitude and the evening.

At the top, on the flat, the frost had persisted all day, the track was icy, a sliver of moon hung in the sky and I watched the sunset gliders.

Happy New Year, happy walking.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed (wm = waymark, fp = fingerpost).

1. Skirt the visitor centre, through its grounds, towards Sutton Bank, cross A170, smooth path (Cleveland Way, White Horse 1 ml), 20 yards, fork right, left at view plaque. Smooth cliff- edge path for one mile. Steep drops.

2. At White Horse (info board) path by rope above horse then many concrete steps with metal rail, steep down.

3. From car park, cross road and right to path in wood parallel to road down.

4. Join road, right at junction (Kilburn ½), some verge.

5. Left at Forresters Arms, through car park, metal gates into churchyard and gate out, hedged path uphill, gate, cross track, gate.

6. Gate and left to road uphill. At High Kilburn, first track on left 50 yards across grass, between houses (fp public footpath) to sunken and hedged path. Before metal gate path curves left (wm) and round to stile, 1 o’clock across grass, faint path, and curve left to nearby wood corner (wm). Path contours then descends, above and below gorse bushes. Fifty yards before wood/hedge corner and before mud, right downhill to steep wood edge path (wm), not quite as on OS map.

7. Stile and left to road, right at junction (Oldstead ¾), 50 yards, left to metalled track (unsuitable for motors). Uphill for half a mile, then flat for a mile.

8. Join road, some verge. Ten yards before A170, track on left (Cleveland Way). Right at outward path and back to visitor centre.

Fact file

Distance: Six miles. Car Parking: North York Moors Visitor Centre.

Right of way: Public.

Date walked: December 2014.

Tourist information: Visitor Centre.

Refreshments: Visitor Centre and Hambleton Inn at Sutton Bank, Forresters Arms and a seasonal cafe at Kilburn.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors western area.

Terrain: Cliff and valleys.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.