North York Moors Walks
Whitestone Cliff & Gormire Lake
Date: 30th December 2012
Distance: 5.8 miles
Time: 3 hours 10 mins
Start Grid Ref: SE620983
Fantastic views from Whitestone Cliff preceded a visit to Gormire Lake, Yorkshire's smallest natural lake.
Route Summary: Sutton Bank Visitor Centre - Sutton Brow - Whitestone Cliff - Cleveland Way - South Wood - Greendale - Tang Hall - Midge Holm Gate - Southwoods Lodge - Gormire Lake - Garbutt Wood - Sutton Brow - Sutton Bank Visitor Centre
1. Roulston Scar and Hood Hill from Sutton Bank
2. A viewing platform on Sutton Brow
3. A patch of sunshine over Thirsk
4. Whitestone Cliff
5. Gormire Lake from Whitestone Cliff
6. Enjoying the view from Whitestone Cliff
7. Horses on Little Moor
8. Looking back to the farm at Greendale
9. Whitestone Cliff from just past Tang Hall
10. Gormire Lake
11. Lisa and a low bird's nest in Garbutt Wood
12. Hood Hill from Garbutt Wood
Walk Detail: Whilst I've walked along a few sections of the Hambleton Hills escarpment, most notably above the Kilburn White Horse, I'd not previously done the bit directly north of Sutton Bank from the National Park visitor centre. This walk combined this stretch along with a visit to Gormire Lake, Yorkshire's smallest natural lake.
Whether or not you agree with James Herriot's opinion that the the view from Sutton Bank is the finest in England it is undeniably impressive even when, on a day like this, you couldn't see all the way across the Vale of Mowbray to the Yorkshire Dales. On the whole it was a grey, windy day with plenty of showers but the few patches of sunshine there were did make the view look particularly dramatic, especially from the precipitous Whitestone Cliff, an early highlight of the walk.
After enjoying the views along the escarpment we left the Cleveland Way to descend through South Woods. I remembered this path as being fairly muddy when we'd used it to climb up to Boltby Scar just over 6 years before. After all the recent rain it was even worse and it was a real quagmire. It wasn't quite as bad though as the few fields we had to cross to Greendale Farm which seemed to be equal parts mud and horse dung.
I'm generally not keen on walking through too much farmland but the section between Greendale and Southlands Hall wasn't too bad, mainly due to the absence of livestock. The walk picked up again on entering the woods to reach the wooded hollow that contains Gormire Lake. Unfortunately the weather briefly deteriorated at the same time and our time alongside Gormire Lake was marked by a strong shower.
The sky brightened again as we made the steep climb back up to the escarpment through Garbutt Wood. The path was again very very muddy but in drier conditions, particularly in the autumn or late spring would be absolutely delightful as it is one of the few areas of native woodland to be found in the area and contains numerous species of tree including ash, apsen, birch, hazel, oak, rowan and sycamore. All too soon the climb was done and after another brief section along Sutton Brow it was back to the car. A strongly recommended walk.