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The North York Moors became a National Park in 1952. It covers around 1,400 miles of moors, forest and coastland. To the east, the National Park has 26 miles of impressive North Sea coastline and in the north and west there are the Cleveland Hills.
To the south there are the Tabular Hills and the Vale of Pickering. It is a very popular visitor destination, with around 7.93 million people visiting the North York Moors every year.
Our accessible walk in the North York Moors begins at the Visitors centre at Sutton Bank.
It’s a very steep road that climbs up from Thirsk to Sutton Bank, but in good weather you will be rewarded with some of the finest views I have seen. In fact, vet and author James Herriot declared the tremendous view from the Sutton Bank, over the Vale of Mowbray and the Vale of York, the “finest in England”.
There is plenty of parking at the centre with designated blue badge bays. The centre is geared up for visitors with disabilities, with accessible toilets and easy access café and shop.
Mobility scooters are available for hire from the centre and leaflets are readily available to guide you along their purpose made tracks.
The linear walk across the escarpment at Sutton Bank begins at the other side of the busy road. Take care when crossing this road as the traffic moves very fast. The track is wide and made of compounded aggregate which is ideal for all types of wheelchair. There are no gates along the way and the slope is very gentle all the way along this one and half mile track.
The track lead along the cliff top and the views are breath taking. There are plenty of benches along the way to take a break and to soak up the scenery. The White Horse is directly beneath the track so you cannot see it from this walk. The Kilburn White Horse is one on the most famous landmarks in North Yorkshire. In 1857 the outline of the horse was drawn out by the school master and pupils from the village school. The turf was cut away to expose the limestone underneath. Occasionally new limestone chippings are to laid to keep the horse bright white so it continues to be seen for miles around.
Just past this viewing area is the Yorkshire Gliding club. Silent white gliders are often soaring overhead. It’s a great place to watch to gliders take off and land too. There is a café at the club which is open to the public, but it is upstairs and not very accessible, though they will bring a cuppa down for you to have outside whilst you watch the planes.
The TOG team really enjoyed our visit to Sutton Bank and was thrilled to see so many families and folk, both young and old, enjoying the activities that the North York Moors has to offer. The moorland was just about ready to burst into colour when we visited, which I imagine will be a spectacular sight. All along the walk the bushes were heavy with bilberries. Some lucky people will be enjoying homemade jam right now, with fruit collected from the Moors.
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