Chevin Forest Park takes you on a journey over 445 acres of criss-cross paths through beautiful woodlands, brimming with heritage and geological treasure to marvel at.
A dedicated nature reserve and site of natural interest, Chevin Forest provides stunning views over the glorious Wharfe Valley and the attractive market town Otley.
With walking trails, picnic spots, organised events and woodland to explore, there is something for everyone.
Take a look around
Things to Note
Otley Chevin Forest Park has the following on-site or nearby:
- Accessible Toilets
- Nearby Food & Drink
- On-site Food and Drink
- On-site Toilets
- Rubbish Bins
- Wheelchair Access
Chevin Forest Park is located in the luscious Wharfe Valley, just 10 miles from Leeds City Centre and overlooking the quaint market town of Otley, which is 2.5 miles away. Located either side of East Chevin Road and with 6 car parks, there are several entrances into the Chevin.
Things to Do
The Chevin is brimming with wildlife. Look out for the many species of bird flying around, or are they bats? If you’re really quiet you may spot a roe deer galloping between the trees.
For the plant lovers, there is lots of vegetation to see, many of which are rare within Leeds such as Moonwart, Killarney Fern and Deer grass. Butterflies and insects crawl amongst the undergrowth. Can you identify the Fungi? During the autumn months visitors can book on a Fungus walk to find out all about the interesting mushrooms. Visit Friends of Chevin Forest Park for more details.
Fancy getting involved with the wildlife and conservation of the Chevin? Why not join the Friends of Chevin Forest Park, a group of volunteers who meet each second Sunday of the month. New members are always welcome, so come down and get involved with tasks like maintaining footpaths, conserving wildlife, drystone walling, admin and donations and have a good old natter.
Looking for a fun activity with all the family? How about geocaching. There are at least 7 geocaches hidden in Otley Chevin and a surprise multicache. Make sure to replace any hidden items you find with one of your own for the next player. Visit the geocaching website to find out how to play.
How about trying some orienteering? There are two permanent orienteering courses set up on the Danesfield side of the Chevin, with the easier one being great for children. You can find out more at Airienteers.
Otley Chevin Forest is great for those who love to walk and explore amongst the trees. Fancy a stroll or leisurely hike? Friends of Chevin Forest have created self guided walks for those keen to explore the Chevin Forest, with geology, heritage and historical trails to take part in.
Or plan your own route. Here’s a map of Chevin Forest Park so you don’t get lost! For the keen hikers out there, why not explore the Wharfe Valley in its full glory and hike a National trail.
There are two National Walking Trails that pass through the Chevin; the Dales Way Link from Leeds to Otley which joins up with the start of the 80 mile Dales Way to Bowness in the Lake District and the Ebor Way, a 70 mile route which goes from Helmsley in the North Yorkshire Moors to Ilkley. Both offer spectacular views of the Yorkshire countryside and beyond.
There is also the 43 mile circular Northwest Leeds and Green Gateways Trail which goes from Woodhouse Moor to Otley also passes through the Chevin Forest to venture along Chevin Forest is great for those into rock climbing and bouldering due to the Gritstone Rocks. Check out West Chevin Boulders for climbing routes to suit all abilities. Be careful though as outdoor climbing is not recommended for those new to the sport. If you’re a beginner why not head down to the Climbing Lab first.
Chevin Forest is dog friendly. It is a favourite with four legged friends, with lots of paths and woodland to explore and brilliant views to admire. Dogs are allowed off the lead, but must return when called. Please be mindful of wildlife and conservation areas.
Chevin Forest is now considered an area geological interest due to the shale and sandstone formations which are believed to have formed over 315 million years ago. However, in the 1800s it was used as a quarry. Sandstone quarried from the Chevin was used to build the foundations on the Houses of Parliament in the 1840’s.
Otley Chevin was donated to the Otley Urban District Council after World War Two by landowner Walter Fawkes to honour people from the Wharfe Valley who had died in the war.
If you want more information about The Chevin or need a toilet stop, head to the White House Café situated within the Chevin during opening hours 10am – 2pm Monday to Friday (excluding Tuesdays) and 11pm – 3pm at weekends.
An accessible toilet with a hoist is situated next to the White House Café and can be accessed during the café opening hours. Ask at the café for the key.
Food and Drink
Chevin Forest Park is a great place to picnic, stop for a bite to eat and enjoy the panoramic views. During the summer months the Chevin have a Picnic in the Park event free for all to join in. Take a look at the Chevin Forest Park website to stay up to date with all the latest events.
Fancy a cup of tea or a bacon sandwich? Head to the White House Café situated within the Chevin. The café is open from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Tuesdays) and 11am to 3pm at weekends. Parking spaces are available for disabled visitors only.
Bacon not your thing? Why not head to the Cheerful Chilli, which is a family run vegetarian and vegan restaurant (open from 6:30pm Tuesday to Saturday) and the tea room (open 11 – 4pm Saturday and 11 – 5pm Sunday) offering green culinary delights and sweet treats inspired from around the world. The restaurant is conveniently located across the road from Otley Chevin Car Park on East Chevin Road.
Need a place to rest your feet after a long walk? Head to The Royalty Pub. Located opposite the Surprise View Car Park and offering spectacular views over the Chevin Forest Park this warm and welcoming pub offers refreshments and a selection of delicious dishes made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
During the summer month treat yourself to a delicious ice cream from the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Farm Van using situated in the Surprise View car park. Or venture into the market town of Otley where there is a variety of eateries and drinking venues to satisfy your needs
There are three car parks on East Chevin Road and two car parks on Yorkgate providing free parking. All are open access apart from Yorkgate Quarry Car Park which closes at 6pm. East Chevin Quarry Car Park, LS21 3DE Upper and Lover Shawfield Car Park, LS21 3DD Surprise View Car Park LS21 3DG Yorkgate Quarry Car Park LS21.3DG.
Take a look at this link for a map of car parks near Otley Chevin Forest Park.
There is limited disabled parking only at the White House Cafe, LS21 3JL. Limited road side parking is also available on Leeds Road and Bramhope Old Road at the footpath entrances.
There are many tracks to explore across The Chevin. Unfortunately not all are accessible to those with buggies, mobility scooters and scooters due to uneven paths and steep inclines.
There is a wheelchair access ramp at Surprise View, allowing wheelchair users the chance to experience the amazing views over Wharfe Valley.
The Heritage Time Trial is a great way for users of mobility scooter and electric powered wheelchairs to explore Chevin Forest. Use the Lower Shawfield car park which has wide access points to the Chevin and Chippendale Ride.
Accessible toilets are located next to the White House Cafe, during opening hours. Ask at the cafe for the key. There is limited disabled parking at the cafe which can be accessed via Jonny Lane,LS21 3JL.
Chevin forest is suitable for horse riders and cyclists, offering a 6.5km of bridleways. Horse riding and cycling are permitted on the Daneside of the forest, which can be accessed via Shawfield car parks.
Horse riders and cyclists are reminded to stick to the designated bridleways and are not permitted on the White House side due to narrow paths and steep terrain.
How to Get Here
Chevin Forest Park is accessible via public transport on bus routes X84 from Leeds, Skipton or Ilkley, 33/44 from Menston, Guiseley or Yeadon and the X52 from Harrogate.
Chevin Forest Park is located on both sides of East Chevin Road, Otley, LS21 3DD. It is located 10 miles North West of Leeds City Centre and 2.5 miles from the centre of Otley.