The Cleveland Way provides excellent views of Lake Gormire, nestling amongst broadleaved woodland. 20,000 years ago the whole of the Vale of York was filled with ice. When the weather turned warmer, an enormous quantity of meltwater flowed south cutting channels between the edge of the ice and the adjacent hills. Lake Gormire, the only natural lake in the National Park, developed in one of these channels.
Sheltered by higher ground, Gormire is a tranquil tarn-like lake which provdes a breeding place for coot, great crested grebe and mallard. A steep path leads from the Cleveland Way to the lakeside. It forms part of the Sutton Bank Nature Trail and is well worth the diversion.
Folk tales and legends of Gormire abound, with horses featuring in many. One tells of a local knight who tricked the Abbot of Rievaulx into lending him his white mare. The mare would not respond to his commands and as Whitestonecliffe loomed closer he heard an unearthly laugh from behind. As he plunged over the cliff into Lake Gormire, his horror was complete as he turned to see the Abbot behind him transformed into the devil! If you visit Lake Gormire at midnight you may just hear a rider grooming his horse. Beware!