York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire white horse workers in health and safety ban

View of the white horse Image copyright Geograph / Andy Beecroft
Image caption The white horse was carved into a hill near Kilburn by a local school master in 1857

Volunteers who maintain a white horse carved into a North Yorkshire hill have been banned from working on it due to health and safety concerns.

The Yorkshire Post reports, the Forestry Commission, which owns the land, will now look after the Kilburn artwork which was created in 1857.

One of the volunteers, Margaret Gomersall, said she was "sorry" it was "going out of our hands".

The Forestry Commission said the change was about keeping people safe.

Image copyright Geograph / Paul Buckingham
Image caption The white horse gets a repainting every five years

Mrs Gomersall, 81, has been treasurer of the Kilburn White Horse Association for more than 30 years. The organisation was set-up in 1974.

'Sake of the horse'

She said the Forestry Commission wanted to use its own workers with specialist equipment to carry out maintenance.

"I have mixed feelings about the decision," she said.

"We've been doing it happily for a long, long time.

"We are quite an elderly group, only a few are under 50, and maybe it's best for the sake of the horse."

'Hard work'

Alan Eves, from the Forestry Commission, said the organisation was "grateful for all the hard work" that had been carried out by members of the association.

"We have been talking with them for a while and we both recognise that times have moved on and agree that the work on the steep slope is dangerous unless you have specialist equipment and appropriate training," he said.

The horse measures 304ft (93m) in length and is 228ft (69m) high.

Unlike the chalk horses in the south of England, the Kilburn horse is limestone and requires regular repainting to keep it white.

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