Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A walk to the White Horse of Kilburn

Hi guys, I'm sitting in my B & B just outside Durham. The Broom Farm Guest House has a homely feel about it, and I have a lovely room with big TV, comfy chairs, en suite, and drinks making facilities. I shall enjoy staying here. 
I had an easy start to the day, took a leisurely drive over the bridge into East Yorkshire, then north through York. A few miles further on I stopped to take this photo, it's Byland Abbey. It was the cows which first caught my attention, I thought it would make a good picture with the Abbey in the background. It's an English Heritage site so quite a hefty admission fee, I didn't have time to look round, wanted to push on a bit further, I had a place in mind to take a walk.    

I parked next to the church at Kilburn and had a bite to eat before I set off. Just across the road is the Mouseman visitor centre. Robert Thompson was the Mouseman, he founded the company after teaching himself to use the traditional tools of medieval craftsmen. The story is that one of his craftsmen remarked that they were all as poor as church mice, so Robert carved a mouse on the church rafter he was working on. This has never been found but the mouse has continued to be a mark of quality and dedication to craftsmanship ever since.

There is a viewing area where you can watch the craftsmen at work.

A fine piece of furniture.
The table and four chairs which you can just see in the bottom right hand corner had a price tag on of £8,500 on it.

This is how the wood is delivered. Whole tree trunks sliced up with narrow batons between the slices.

Nearby is a cottage with the front garden absolutely full of lavender. The bees were loving it.
I took my Ordnance Survey map of the area with me and planned a walk to Sutton Bank. On the way is the bonus of seeing the White Horse. As I walked out of the village I met a couple with their dog going in the same direction as myself, so I struck up a conversation with them. They were on holiday from Sussex and were following a route they had on a leaflet. Between us, with their leaflet and my map we found our way to the White Horse.

It was a steep climb up there, not far now.

Here we are right on the top of the horse. Fantastic views. We followed the Cleveland Way, a long distance footpath, for a while.

In 2007 the White Horse was 150 years old. It was the idea of Thomas Taylor who wanted a horse cut out on Roulston Scar to rival those in the South of England. There is no chalk on the hillside above Kilburn, so it was cut out on a steep rocky slope with a grey limey sandstone base. Now there is an association which works hard to keep it in good condition.

It was lovely to have some company on my walk today. My new friends were well traveled and experienced walkers so there was many stories to swap. Their next stopover is Northumberland tomorrow, before they head back down south  and home. I didn't get to Sutton Bank, it would have been too far.

Tomorrow I'm off to Durham for the day. At two miles it's near enough to walk, though I might go on the bus if one comes along. I hate waiting for buses. The car stays where it is, in the car park.
Toodle pip.


  1. Nearly choked on my drink at the price on that table...but that's the price of skilled labour I guess.
    Jane x

  2. What a lovely day Ilona, thank you for sharing it with us. There is a white horse on the downs close to where I used to live in Swindon Wilts, your post brought back childhood memories of that.
    Looking forward to joining you on the rest of your trip.
    Have fun.
    Love Pam in TX.

  3. Fantastic info about the Mouseman, really enjoyed it. Looks like you had a lovely day.

  4. I did a driving job on friday, 2 deliveries in york and 5 around Sunderland and Washington. Its a great view of the white horse from the A19 heading for Thirsk.
    The Thirsk area seems to have a lot of furniture makers, i used to deliver to one that made kitchens.
    Sutton Bank is 1in 4 steep with hairpin bends and can be quute a challenge in a vehicle let alone on foot. A lot of artics loose traction and end up in trouble. I once went up in a lightly loaded artic and the drive axle lost traction as i came out of a hairpin and started climbing. I put the diff lock on and it found traction thank goodness.
    Enjoy your break.

  5. How quiet it looks after the frantic activity of Le Tour! I had a 'Mouseman' chopping board for my 40th birthday and couldn't bear to use it, so found local craftsman to put a clock in the centre of it and now it lives on our mantlepiece. Hope the weather stays fine for you!

  6. I'm so happy that we off rambling again....loved The White Horse and the Mouseman story.

  7. one of my favourite bits of the country that and the Borders . We visited Byland Abbey and the cows ate the wipers off the car!!! there was a beware of the cows sign but it didnt say why

  8. Your lovely photos really bring your journey to life. I can't go in person but you are bringing the sights to me so 'thank you'

  9. Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Be still my heart...I'm ready to fly across the pond for a visit after seeing this...so glad you're enjoying your days...

  11. Oooo...you're off again and kindly taking us with you.
    Please look after yourself this time!
    Love the White Horse.
    Granny G xx


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. I have had to change the settings due to the amount of troll comments coming through. My apologies to genuine readers who have been with me for a long time.