Sutton Bank

Sutton Bank

Route: Sutton Bank

Area: North Yorkshire

Date of walk: 24th May 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly 

Distance: 8.8 miles

Ascent: 1,200 feet

Weather: Sunny and warm

Today’s walk was one we’ve had in mind for some time, one which we’d been saving up for a clear day. The view from the spectacular escarpment of Sutton Bank is often cited as being ‘England’s finest’ and we were keen to put this claim to the test

We parked in the National Park Centre  at the top of the road up Sutton Bank, one of the most notorious ascents in the country, with a hairpin bend in the middle of a 1 in 4 gradient. We crossed the road to follow the path which runs along the edge of the escarpment, and within a few minutes of setting off were rewarded with some spectacular views over huge swathes of Yorkshire

We continued past the airfield of the Yorkshire Gliding Club, witnessing a take off as we did so, and carried on along the edge as far as the White Horse of Kilburn. This figure of a white horse said to be the largest and most northerly hill figure in England, but the view of it from 10 miles away is better than the one we had from 10 feet away – seen at close range, it’s hard to discern the outline of a horse, so large is the figure

At this point we started the descent from Sutton Bank down a steep flight of steps, and at the bottom we reversed our direction of travel from south to north. We followed a succession of paths through woodland and fields and eventually arrived at the A170 – the foot of Sutton Bank as far as motorists are concerned. An otherwise 5 star walk loses 1 star here, as we had to follow the grass verge beside the busy road for about 10 minutes. It was a relief to turn off and follow the path past Gormire Lake, a tranquil place set in the woods

Beyond the lake we passed by Southwoods Lodge to start the climb back up to the top of Sutton Bank. This wasn’t as steep as we’d anticipated, although we were by now about 7 miles into the walk, so it was quite tiring in the hot conditions. We finally arrived back on the escarpment and joined a heavenly path, part of the Cleveland Way. The path followed the edge of the cliffs, with astounding views over the surrounding countryside. We arrived at a noticeboard indicating ‘The Finest View in England’, and after admiring it for a final time made our way back to the nearby Visitor Centre to end a fabulous walk

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

Scroll down – or click on any photo to enlarge it and you can then view as a slideshow

Previous walk: « | Next walk: »