White Horse of Kilburn
White Horse of Kilburn
The White Horse at Kilburn is a chalk figure carved into the hillside above this attractive North Yorkshire village. The chalk figure was the brainchild of Thomas Taylor, a Kilburn native, who in 1857 decided that his village needed a white horse even more grand and exciting than established chalk figures in the south of England (such as the one at Westbury, Wiltshire).
Taylor enlisted the local schoolmaster, John Hodgson, who created the plans for a new horse. There was one small hitch; the hills above Kilburn were not underlaid with chalk, but with a grey limestone. Thus the figure suffered badly from weathering over the ensuing 50 years until a campaign was launched by the Yorkshire Evening Post and donations were gathered to maintain the horse.

Today, much of the maintenance is carried out by the Kilburn White Horse Association, a volunteer group that aims to keep the hill figure looking its best. The Kilburn White Horse can best be seen from the Balk road just inside the Kilburn village boundary, where there is a pair of small benches situated to get a clear view north to the horse.

If you follow the minor road north from Kilburn towards Sutton Bank you will come to a parking area immediately beside the horse (there are two parking areas, and the second, most northerly, offers the best access and best views of the horse), and footpaths lead around the figure. One of the footpaths is the long distance Cleveland Way, which leads directly past the hill figure.

The horse was designed to be 314’ long and 228’ high, but it is now 318’ and 220’ high.