A Grand Day for walking.

Surprise View, Otley

A beautiful sunny day and The Dog and I decided to go up to Surprise View, another part of the Otley Chevin estate. It offers fantastic views up and down the Wharfedale Valley and it was far better weather than yesterday.

See, told you! This is looking west up towards Ilkley and beyond.

The market town of Otley, nestling in the valley.

There are many ruins on the Chevin, of old buildings that sadly fell into disrepair. The Chevin has a chequered history and one of my friends has done a lot of research on it (see the link below).This is where Jenny’s cottage used to be, with unenviable views along the valley.


There’s been a lot of work to supply information boards telling you the story behind the buildings.

If it had been a tad warmer and I had remembered to bring me sarnies, I would of had me lunch there.

The Dog and I dropped down into the wooded part of the Chevin and this photo doesn’t do it justice. These tall majestic trees remind of the Hobbit stories and I imagine them whispering to each other as we come in. They are just like soldiers on sentry duty.

The Chevin is full of boulders from the ice age and this one has fallen free many moons ago. It looks like it’s been dumped there by a giant’s hand. There are lots of stories of how stones end up where they are, usually fantastic mythical ones involving angry giants and devils who wreak revenge and throw boulders in temper.

At the beginning of the walk, you can almost get a 360 degree view. You can look towards Leeds Bradford airport and beyond into the city centre of Leeds and follow it around towards the outskirts of Bradford, Yeadon, Guiseley, along the edge of Ilkley Moor into the Wharfe Valley, scan across towards York and back to Leeds.

Here we are looking across towards Guiseley/Menston and the old High Royds Asylum Hospital. It was derelict for severalj years after the last patient left until building developers got it and transformed into homes. The old Victorian building has been saved and turned it into apartments and studios and surrounded by a variety of different houses on its grounds. It’s is a majestic, imposing old building and it retains its dignity. A few years a photographer got permission to enter it when it was derelict and took photos of the wards, corridors and treatment rooms. It was very creepy and made you wonder what it was like to be a patient there. 5e stories that old building could tell if it could talk.


Just a couple of pictures looking west at Ilkley Moor. It’s amazing to think that behind me is the hulking cities of Leeds and Bradford, with their teeming masses and then there’s this stunning countryside and amazing views.

Isn’t Mother Nature just brilliant at art?

And this is equally beautiful too, the fungi on this tree.

Now for some man made art. I need to find out the history of these stones and why they are placed like this. It’s just great, a whole line of them standing bolt upright.

The provenance of this line of stones below Surprise View on Otley Chevin is unknown but they are undoubtedly of ancient origin, probably marking an old property boundary.

Scattered around the Chevin, the local woodcutters have been busy over the years and done this with a huge chainsaw and a picture in their heads. I would have trouble getting the chainsaw even started, let alone trying to carve something. You would end up with a pile of woodchip with me!

This is the White House, the old rangers building. If you stand anywhere in Otley you will be able to spot this halfway up in the trees. Probably an old farmhouse, Leeds City Council have used it for years for their rangers to work out of. Opposite there is an education room where a Wildlife Watch Group used to be held.


The back of the White House with the cafe building in front of it. Somehow I always rock up and the cafe is closed, which always a huge disappointment as it’s at the bottom of a steep hill. There’s nothing worse than having to trail back up when denied a coffee and a sticky bun.

The trouble is, visiting the White House, is that it’s a long haul uphill back to the car. The Dog looked at me with pity as I slithered and squelched my way slowly up the incline, while she, with four paw drive, leapt like a gazelle through the oozing mud. My Dog has a good line of withering looks for my inadequacies as a human – the minutes wasted putting layers of clothing on, the interminable wait for changing of shoes to wellies and her raised eyebrow look reserved for all two legged animals trying to walk through mud and precious seconds lost to that activity.

We finally get back to Surprise View and have one more look across the valley and reluctantly head off.

Author: apathtosomewhere

Come with me and my dog on my meanderings around northern England and further afield, encountering all walks of life and everything in between!

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