The Cleveland Way – Sutton Bank to Osmotherly (18 km)

From Sutton Bank, the Cleveland Way continues northwards along the western edge of the North York Moors National Park. There are excellent views including the “Finest View in England” encountered shortly after starting out. This even has its own viewing platform. Views from here stretch across the plains towards the distant Pennines.

The route follows part of the Hambleton Drove Road for a few miles. This is an ancient upland thoroughfare. The final part of the walk includes the climb up Black Hambleton, nearly 400m high. There are more great views from the ridge before the route descends to the village of Osmotherley which is full of quaint shops, cafes and pubs.

If you are walking the Cleveland Way in parts there is no easy way of getting back to Sutton Bank from Osmotherly, other than walking or using two cars. At the time of writing, there is no public transport available to Sutton Bank. If a 36 km walk seems too much, break the walk into 2 and maybe walk from Sutton Bank to Sneck Yate and back and on another day Sneck Yate to Osmotherly and back. Car parking is available at Sutton Bank (YO7 2EH), Sneck Yate Bank (YO7 2HU), Square Corner, and Osmotherly (DL6 3AJ).

This section of the Cleveland Way is covered by the Explorer OL26 Ordnance Survey map. The map displays the western area of the North Yorkshire Moors, the Cleveland Hills, and a section of the Howardian Hills. With this map, you also get a code for use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The OS Explorer map for the North Yorkshire Moors – Western Area is available in both the standard paper version and weatherproof ‘Active’ version.

Walk from Sutton Bank to Sneck Yate Bank

Leave Sutton Bank at the place where the A170 bends left. The Cleveland Way is signposted to Sneck Yate. Sneck is a Yorkshire word that means “latch” and Yate is pronounced Yat. The path runs past the “Finest View in England” (according to James Herriott) and through patchy woodland for a while, with occasional views over the cliffs on the left-hand side. Lake Gormire comes into view at the bottom of Whitestone Cliff. The path drops slightly turning right and then left to enter Garbutt Wood Nature Reserve. The cliffs are now a wooded slope and the path ascends gradually to Boultby Scar.

Descend gradually, passing above an old quarry on the other side of a stone wall and continuing to the derelict High Barn which sits between two patches of woodland. Walk past the Barn. The path now descends gently to cross a minor road on Sneck Yate Bank.

Lake Gormire

This little lake is a bit unusual although completely natural. The area here is limestone which drains very well and does not really support lakes. Lake Gormire was formed when a large part of the escarpment slumped onto the plains leaving a small valley between itself and the broken cliff face. This was filled with rubble and clay which allowed water to pool. Normally it would drain away through the limestone bedrock.

According to local legend, the lake is bottomless, but it is in fact quite shallow.

Walk from Sneck Yate Bank to Whitestones

After crossing the road enter the wood on the other side. Walk along the wood to reach another minor road. Turn right to follow the road up a wooded slope to High Paradise Farm. The farm offers accommodation, camping and a tea room. Shortly after passing the farm turn left along the Hambleton Drove Road. This is an enclosed, broad, grassy track and cycle path with fields on the left and the moors on the right. Pass through a gate into Boultby Forest. Walk through the forest and leave it at Steeple Cross.

Continue to follow the track as it rises onto Little Moor. On this stretch, there is almost always a dry stone wall to the left and open moorland on the right. Lookout on the right for an old ruin and memorial stone beside the track. This is all that is left of Limekiln House, a wayside inn once used by the drovers.

Whitestones is the point where the track turns sharply left and is marked by a small signpost with acorns.

Hambleton Drove Road

This ancient road was based on a prehistoric ridgeway route. Travellers preferred to keep to high ground as the plains were heavily wooded, marshy in places and inhabited by wild animals. Even after the lowlands were tamed, drovers moving livestock between Scotland and London used the high ground to avoid enclosed farmland and expensive turnpike roads.

Whitestones to Osmotherly

From Whitestones keep following the Drove Road with the wall still on the left. The track rises gently along the side of Black Hambleton. The highest point reached on the track is 390 metres, not far off the highest point on the moorland which is 399 metres. This is marked by a trig point and is just a short five-minute detour. To get to the trig point, follow the track on the right next to a large cairn stone just before the Drove Road starts descending.

As you start to descend, you can see Osmotherly on a clear day. Keep following the track to reach the minor road and car park at Square Corner.

Walk past the parking area and follow a stone pitched path off to the left (signposted) which leads down into a wooded dale. Cross over a stream via a footbridge and follow a reservoir access road past a house called Oak Dale. The road leads downhill to cross a bridge before it goes uphill through some woods.

Turn left down a minor road and then right along a track. Turn left downhill towards Whitehouse Farm, keeping right and then walk down to a footbridge over a stream. Climb steps up a wooded slope and then follow a clear path through the fields to arrive in Osmotherly. Walk straight ahead along a narrow alleyway to reach the Market Cross on a green in the middle of the village.

Osmotherly is the perfect finish to a great day’s walking over the moors. This picturesque village has a small green with seats, pubs, a post office and shops.


Whilst I take every care to ensure the accuracy of the route descriptions, I cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. The route described may be pleasant for walking in fine weather but can become slippery, boggy and dangerous in wintry or wet weather. On days when visibility is impaired by fog, rain, cloud or mist, some landmarks used as direction aids in the route descriptions may not be visible.

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Cleveland Way Sutton Bank to Osmotherly

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