Walk: Gormire Lake and Garbutt Wood

in Thirsk

A great walk with a stunning view from the top of Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, walking part way along the epic Cleveland Way.

The Route

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  • Start Point: Sutton Bank National Park Centre, Sutton Bank, Thirsk, YO7 2EH
  • Finish Point: Sutton Bank National Park Centre, Sutton Bank, Thirsk, YO7 2EH
  • Distance: 4 Miles

GPX Route Map

Download file for GPS

Walk Description

With the Sutton Bank National Park Centre in front of you, head to the right side of the building and follow the path to the first crossroads of paths. Turn right here to bring you to the road. Cross over and take the path straight ahead of you. Then turn left at the next junction and follow this windy path to meet the Cleveland Way National Trail.

Turn right and follow the Cleveland Way, ignoring all paths off, all the way along the top edge of Sutton Brow. The path enters a wood, turns steadily right, and then turns sharp right – this is now the Garbutt Wood Nature Reserve.

When it emerges from the wood, the path passes a gallop on the right and then turns sharply right. Just after the right turn is a wonderful view of the area – and then look for a sign for Thirlby Bank on the left.

Take this bridleway all the way down the side of the hill inside the wood, around two hairpin turns. Just as you reach the edge of the wood, take the second turn on the left, and then veer to the left at the fork – to reach Gormire Lake, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The lake is a natural lowland lake that lies at the foot of Whitestone Cliff. It has has no inflow or major outflow of water. It is thought to be fed by an underground spring and drained by a limestone channel – the water finds a way out through the base of the cliff face to the east of the lake. Gormire Lake is the fourth largest of the natural lakes in Yorkshire (the other three being Hornsea Mere, Malham Tarn and Semerwater). There are several legends attached to the lake, including a knight, Sir Harry Scriven, riding a white mare belonging to the Abbot of Rievaulx Abbey into the lake after being startled by the devil.

Turn to the right, and follow the edge of the lake all the way around, to almost meet up with the way you came in, but instead, take the footpath to the right to walk through Garbutt Wood to re-join the Cleveland Way. Turn right and follow the Cleveland Way, crossing the access road for the National Park Centre and heading to the left to return to the car park.

For accommodation and meal reservations, see the Thirsk pages.

Related Accommodation

The Old Dairy

The Old Dairy, Low Cleaves, Sutton, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 2PY, United Kingdom

Sutton Court

Sutton Court, 9 Sutton Court, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1EX, United Kingdom

Ickle Pickle Cottage

Ickle Pickle Cottage, 1 Nicksgate, Finkle Street, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, Yo7 1da, United Kingdom

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