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Otley Chevin Forest Park

OS grid reference:- SE 204 442

Otley Chevin Forest Park is a highly attractive wooded ridge on the south side of Wharfedale which overlooks the town of Otley, 9 miles to the north-west of Leeds.

The name derives from the Cumbric Brythonic Celtic language, from the word cefyn, cefn or cefu meaning ridge. The name occurs often in Wales, in places such as Cefn Cribwr and Cefn Bryn in Glamorgan and also The Cheviot in Northumberland.

The highest point of the wooded escarpment, known as Surprise View, rises to a height of 925 feet (282 metres) and provides superb views over Otley and Wharfedale. A car park is provided, a cross has been erected there every Easter since 1969. Large outcrops of rock litter the upper slopes of the Chevin which are popular with climbers. The ridge has a number of footpaths. The Leeds link to the Dales Way crosses it, as does the Ebor Way. There is also an Orienteering course in the forest park, maps are available from the local tourist office.

The views across Wharfedale from Otley Chevin and Caley Park were among Turner's favourite subjects, his famous painting Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps is thought to have been inspired by the Chevin. The artist used to stay with his friend Walter Fawkes at Farnley Hall, to the east of Otley.


Otley Chevin is situated 9 miles north west of Leeds on the A660 to Otley; follow signs from Otley town to East Chevin Road.

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