It was a beautiful day and we a couple hours of time free, so it was the perfect opportunity for a spontaneous walk in the fresh air. Otley was our destination, specifically a walk over The Chevin, Wharfedale, a ridge overlooking the town of Otley itself. It’s a spot I had driven past so many times and told myself I must get up there one day. This day was finally it.
If you have ever been in the vicinity of Otley in Wharfedale you cannot miss The Chevin on the south side of the valley. An escarpment rising up to around 282 metres (925 ft), it offers amazing views from the top.
There is a rocky outcrop, known locally as Surprise View, and as you can see from these pictures you get amazing views directly north over Otley itself, as well as wondrous views up and down the valley in every direction.
It was plain to see it is a perfect walking and escapism territory for all. There are roads up the back and car parks placed near the summit so the masses can take in this view if time or ability is an issue. Or you can wander the many paths through the woodland as well as those from the town to the top, up the not-too-steep ridge.
I can certainly see why it is a dog walkers paradise. And on the way there were many four legged friends up there enjoying some fresh air.
Why is it called The Chevin? An old Celtic word for ‘Ridge of High Land’ was Cefyn or Cefn. So it is easy to see how time and dialect have changed down the ages to Chevin. You can see why places in Wales, for example, have Cefn in their name. Take Cefn Cribwr , which is a village situated on a ridge in Bridgend.
The rocky outcrop on top is so easily accessible. I immediately thought that it would be a perfect place for youngsters to do some bouldering. The ridge was obviously a great place for runners too.
But, this day was a walk and a break for Dom and I. With him being local to the area, he felt ashamed he had not been up before himself!
As you come away from the ridge, it can get a bit muddy so was another great day to test out my LL Bean Boots. This walk was made for them to be honest. If a walk calls for wellies these days then I bypass them and stick on the BeanBoots for comfort and durability. They really do work.
It was one of those walks we used to fill some time before an appointment but then felt we didn’t have long enough to explore once there. The place and area was more than we expected and there was so much to explore too! Dom was on a mission.
If you look on the Friends of Chevin Forest site you will see a whole lot more information along with some great downloadable material to help you discover more walks. There are stones placed along the routes that together, with the leaflets, enable you to learn so much about the geology and what makes up this remarkable ridge.
Up by Surprise View there is a stone sign indicative of more recent history. The foundations of an old cottage that was situated up here. What views they had for sure! The cottage was affectionately known as Old Jenny’s.
The name of the cottage came from the tenants who took over in the 1820s: Joseph and Jane Myers. Jane was known as Jenny and she used to provide for people wandering over the ridge on days out. Water, cutlery for picnics, etc. Then, through well into the 20th Century, the house became a tea room before being demolished in 1974. I am sure a lot of locals still remember it fondly.
If you’re looking for fresh air and a good walk I recommend this one highly. You’ll have your body batteries recharged, and there’s lots and lots to learn. I loved it!
A grand couple of hours spent if I do say so. I need to come back and see more for sure.