Kilburn White Horse

The White Horse was designed and financed by Thomas Taylor, who marked out the figure of a horse on a hillside and a team of volunteers deposited 6 tons of lime on the naturally greyish rock beneath to whiten it.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in York
Rievaulx Abbey
Located in the valley of the North York Moor, Rievaulx Abbey are impressive ruins of one of England's most powerful Cistercian monasteries.
Duncombe Park
Known as one of Yorkshire’s finest historic houses and estates, Duncombe Park has over 450 acres of spectacular gardens, parklands and classical temples.
Lake Gormire
Formed by glacial erosion over 20,000 years ago, Lake Gormire is full of myths and mystery around its formation as it has no major inflow or outflow of water - confounding people who wondered how the lake was fed.
Roulston Scar
The largest of a series of promontory forts located along the west and north edges of the Hambleton Hills. The defences surround the entire promontory (some 24 hectares or 60 acres) make it the largest and strongest prehistoric enclosure in Yorkshire.
White Mare Crag
Also known as Whitestone Cliff, it has been formed in the eighteen century when the steep scarp slope slumped.
Coxwold Village
Coxwold is a small attractive village on the South-western edge of the North York Moors, just inside the boundaries of the National Park.

Related Tours

Private Guided Walk on the Yorkshire Moors: Folklore, Myths, & Legends
Enjoy a privately guided six-mile walk through the ruggedly beautiful Yorkshire Moors with an expert local private guide to bring the landscape and landmarks to life. On your private tour, you will: 

  • Enjoy the personal attention of your expert private guide. 
  • Walk a 6-mile circular walk through the Yorkshire Moors. 
  • See the ancient forts and hear the stories of local folklore, myths and legends. 
  • Admire the breathtaking scenery of the Moors. 
  • Walk across Roulston Scar – a massive hill fort dating back to 400 BC.
  • Continue along the escarpment to see the White Horse of Kilburn. 
  • Walk around Lake Gormire – the only one in the moors and formed 10,000 years ago.
  • Ascend to White Mare Crag – both lake and cliff are steeped in mystery and local legend.
  • End your tour at the National Park Centre (or hotel if pre-arranged). 

Enjoy a gentle walk through the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside with a private guide and expert storyteller, who will bring the landscape of the moors, woods, lake, and cliffs to life with the many local tales of mystery, misadventure and legend. 

Your tour begins either with a hotel pickup or at the National Park Centre in North Yorkshire. Make sure to wear comfortable and hardy footwear as you embark on this beautiful hike around some of the most historic countryside of England. The moors have inspired countless works of art, poetry and literature and were described as “the finest views in England” by Yorkshire’s most famous vet, James Herriot! 

Your walk takes you across Roulston Scar – a cliff on Sutton Bank with spectacular views overlooking the Vale of York and the Vale of Mowbray. It was discovered to be a massive hill fort dating back to 400 BC. As you continue along the escarpment you will see one of Yorkshire’s best-known landmarks visible from over 30 miles away: the White Horse of Kilburn. Cut out from the limestone cliff in 1857 by local schoolmaster John Hodgson and 31 villagers, the horse is 318 feet long, 220 feet high and covers about 1.6 acres. 

Then you’ll come across ancient woodland, Garbutt Wood, surrounding the 10,000-year-old Lake Gormire – the only natural lake of any notable size on the moors and relic from the last ice age. There are many local myths and legends about the lake – from escaped witches to a runaway goose. Local folklore says the lake is bottomless and conceals an underwater village and many underwater rivers leading to nearby holy wells. 

From Lake Gormire, you’ll begin your ascent to the top of White Mare Crag – another landmark immersed in local folklore, where you’ll learn the tale of Sir Henry Scriven’s fatal misadventure one dark and stormy night. 

End your walkthrough Yorkshire’s fabulous countryside back at the National Park Centre. 

This is a gentle walk with one steep climb from Lake Gormire, but walking shoes/boots would be recommended or at the very least training shoes. Depending on the weather, a waterproof hat is also essential for individual comfort.

Please note: this tour does not include hotel pick-up or drop off. Please be in touch with us at the time of booking should you wish to arrange this for an additional fee.


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