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Outdoors

Otley is situated in the beautiful and undisturbed countryside of Lower Wharfedale and is steeped in history, The town lies on the boundary between North and West Yorkshire and has much to interest the visitor.

In 2014 the world famous Tour de France passed through the centre of Otley watched by over 20,000 spectators.  Otley’s reputation as a cycling hub was further enhanced by this once in lifetime event and of course all cyclists can experience cycling a stage of the Tour de France.  Otley was also chosen to host part of the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire and will host the start of Stage 2 of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire.

Otley Chevin is a prominent natural feature rising steeply above the town. The 180 hectares of Chevin Forest Park are criss-crossed by paths and offer spectacular views across the Wharfe Valley. The stunning views over the town and the glorious surrounding countryside are a wonderful sight. Open all year, the park is a unique countryside experience with facilities for walking, cycling, picnicking or simply enjoying the great outdoors . IMG_1563

Wharfemeadows Park, one of the most well-known sights in Otley, lies alongside the River Wharfe and has beautiful gardens where you can take a leisurely walk,or just sit and watch the world – and the river –  go by.  For family groups there is nothing better than letting the children enjoy themselves at the extensive playground in a fun and safe environment.  For older children there is the added attractions of a skateboard park and the recently installed outdoor gym.

IMG_1603 (1)Otley’s popular Gallows Hill Nature Area has had a makeover in 2015. New footpaths, wheelchair and pushchair access across the site. The car park has also been resurfaced along with the installation of new gates, benches and fencing across the site. It is hoped that the upgrade of the footpaths will make access easier for visitors and that it will encourage more people to dwell on site to see the wide variety of amphibian, bird, mammal and insect species found on the site.

Walking Opportunities

Walkers are Welcome Walkersarewelcome

Otley became a nationally accedited Walkers are Welcome Town in 2008 to promote Otley as an outstanding and attractive destination to suit walkers with different interests and fitness levels.  We have developed and published walks which start and finish in Otley.  These include Otley FOUR Walks (3-6 miles); Otley FOUR MORE Walks (6-9 miles); The Six Dales Trail – a 38 mile route from Otley to Middleham in Wensleydale.  These publications can be obtained from local shops, by emailing wawotley@mail.com or from our website waw-otley.org.uk.  The new 28-mile ‘Welcome Way’ can be walked in sections between the WAW communties of Otley, Burley in Whafedale, Baildon and Bingley. IMG_8357An attractive and easy to follow Guidebook has been published providing full details of the route, together with maps and descriptions. It can be purchased in Otley from Chevin Trek, Just Books, Mounseys, Stephen H. Smiths and the CORE, or can be ordered online at www.welcomeway.org.uk.

Otley Walkers

A communtiy-based walking group offering mid-week and weekend walks of between 3-20 miles all across Wharfedale, Nidderdale and the Washburn Valley. They operate a car sharing scheme or travel by public transport whenever possible.  They also arrange low-cost self-catering weekends around the Dales and further afield.  For more information on how to join go to www.otleywalkers.org.uk

Otley Walking Festival

The annual 8-day Walking Festival takes place each year at the end of June.  There are over 50 walks and events on offer with something for everyone.  See www.otleywalkingfestival.co.uk for more information.

Cycling Opportunities

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IMG_2799Otley Cycle Club

The Club aims to get more people out on their bikes!  The club has been cycling for over half a century, and with British Cycling qualified coaches, Go Ride accreditatioin and a strong and expanding junior membership is attracting more and more people to experience cycling.  More information is available otleycycleclub.co.uk or contact Otley Cycle Club Ltd, Wellcroft House, Otley LS21 1JH.

Annual Cycle Races

The annual event in the centre of Otley each June hosts top level races for juniors and elite men and women racing.  An exciting event not to be missed.  Up-to-date information is available on their website otleycycleraces.co.uk

Otley Sportive 

Otley Sportive C.O. welcomes riders of all abilities to take part in our sportive rides, and members of the community to get involved in the work we do.  We are passionate about getting people to pedal, using cycling as a social activity, improving health and wellbeing and sustainable transport.  Go to www.otleysportivewordpress.com or email luke@otleysportive.co.uk for additional information.