Otley Chevin Forest Park
If you like a challenging, muddy, off-road run, then this is the one for you! If you don’t, then maybe save this delightful forest trail for a drier spell. It is also mostly dog friendly (just those roads to cross) if you like to run with your four legged friend.
Just short of 7 miles, this route takes you through a variety of forest tracks, areas of geological outstanding beauty, and reaches a height where you can (almost) touch the planes taking off from the nearby Leeds-Bradford airport. There is quite a panoramic view to admire up there.
The Chevin Forest Park has many routes to explore, and several car parks to choose from. However, Otley does not have a trainline, so if you do not have access to a car, or don’t want to drive, the route starts and ends at Leeds X84 bus stop. Just be careful crossing Leeds Road!
If you want to make the route shorter, and take out a bit of that hill challenge, then there is the option of using the carpark just off East Chevin Road too.
If you follow the route map, this run will take you up-hill for a short distance along the A660. Look out for a clearly marked entrance and gate for The Chevin Forest Park, cross the road and take the path to the left up through the pine tree lined track. Eventually this will meet another path, take a right and continue to head upwards and away from the road. This is a lovely incline which does eventually even out, taking you across bridges and streams as your follow the Ebor Way signage. You will eventually reach one of the many Chevin car parks, there are also some picnic tables here as well if you need a rest!
Take the bridleway to the right, which runs parallel to the East Chevin Road for a short way until you reach the road and directly opposite a track marked with a public byway green sign ‘Miller lane’. You need to cross the road here (take care) and follow the sign. This rather rocky track will take you upwards to another part of the Chevin Forest and some spectacular views on either side above the forest below and a drystone wall and fields to your right. Keep going straight along this higher path and you will come back into woodland and quite a technical path with fields to your right. This will eventually turn right downhill (don’t go too far down the hill though), as you need to retrace your steps on the lower path. There are some interesting wooden sculptures dotted around and a tall stone lined track to keep a look out for. Enjoy this downhill slope, (and a slight incline again!) which will bring you back to the Miller Lane track.
Retrace your steps, across the road, but instead of taking the same path back, you can return on the wider tree lined track, forming a loop, which will then take you back onto the Ebor Way path for a short time. You need to be heading along the downhill tracks though and towards the road. Hopefully you will recognise the pine tree soft track that you first entered the Chevin forest on, taking you back to the gate and the A660 Leeds Road back to your start point.
If you got the bus, you can keep heading downhill into Otley where there is plenty of cafes for a well deserved cuppa. You can also get the bus back to Leeds from here too!
Where to park if travelling by car
There are some spaces along Leeds A660, but this road can be busy and fast. There is also one of the many signposted Chevin carparks just off East Chevin Road, which is on this route.
How to get there by public transport
The X84 bus from Leeds (Headingley Line), takes you to the start and finish point on the route map. The X84 to Leeds also leaves from the main bus station in Otley too, if you wanted to add on and finish your route there. This is located near Otley market place.
The White House Cafe is situated in the Chevin forest, although opening times can vary. There are also plenty of cafes and pubs in Otley town centre.
In addition to this, there are toilets and cafes at Sainsburys or Waitrose supermarkets in Otley town.