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Otley Chevin

The Chevin, meaning a ridge, or ridge of high land. A superb route for all you urbanites living in the Wharfe Valley region, which coincidentally includes one of the team. Were not saying its a mega day out with awe inspiring scenery. But it’s accessible to a great many people, do able all year round and without too much mud.

Think of it as a training route for all day epics or something to ride after work. The route does take in a fair bit of tarmac, however its at the start climbing towards the top of the Chevin. From there it’s a series of well maintained bridleways and lanes, ending a blast around the stunning Chevin forest trail.

Try to avoid on a sunday unless you relish crowds of dog walkers.


Total distance 8.5Miles
Grin Factor

Total Distance: 8.5 Miles
Total Climbing: 2670.6 ft
Time: 1.37 hrs

Off-road: 5.5 mi
On-road: 3 mi

Climbing Distance: 3.6 mi
Descent Distance: 4.3 mi
Flat Distance: 0.6 mi

Terrain: Steep tarmac climbs and descents, bridleways and forest paths.

The Route

Start Point:  GPS N 53 54.346 W 1 41.377 Otley town centre (the maypole).

For the ease of clarity we begin this route at the Maypole in central Otley, however pick it up where you like.

  • 1. With your back to the maypole and the Manor pub in front of you continue on this road for 200m to the library where you turn left another 200m up to the junction (pub) and turn left again. Continue on Gay Lane to the first left hand corner and turn right. Cycle over the bypass bridge and turn right onto Birdcage Walk. Cycle to the end of this road and turn left up the West Chevin road. It’s a bit of a slog but pace yourself and stick with it until you come to a junction with a caravan site where you turn left (Moor Top)
  • Keep climbing on Moor Top till you eventually reach the top with views of the Wharfe Valley and Leeds/Bradford and a water tower folly (left). Flat riding for 2 mins after this till you come to a bridleway on your left (Cross Lane). Take this track and follow it to the first right hand turning which you take.Flat riding again with a small downhill leading onto Carlton Lane. Take a left here for 300m and take the track on the left. Follow this uphill slightly till you reach tarmac (Yorkgate) cross this onto Miller Lane, follow this track to the end where it crosses the main East Chevin road.
  • Option 1. if you’ve had enough turn left straight down the hill into Otley, although your missing the most scenic section!
  • Option 2. Straight ahead into Chevin forest Park follow the well made track to the car park and turn left down a long straight hill. Cross the bridge then turn immediately right (fairly steep uphill). Follow this track through the woods to the end and turn left down the hill. At the bottom, the track swings hard left flattens for 400m. You should then take the track right down the steep hill. Again it bears hard left flattens then take the track on your right. There’s some nice eye candy on this section with woodlands, boulders, sculptures and other woodland type stuff. The track eventually leads you into East Chevin Road with a 2 min descent back to your start point.

Route Photos

Start point - the maypole, town centre Otley.
Left from Birdcage Walk onto West Chevin road.
Climb tarmac - West Chevin road.
Left onto Moor top.
Pass the water tower on your left, Moor top.
Left onto Cross lane.
Right following Cross lane. the old Roman road.
Left onto tarmac. Carlton Lane.
Left - towards Yorkgate.
Straight on crossing Yorkgate.
Cross east Chevin road into Chevin forest park.
The Chevin Boulders.
Return to start point via east Chevin road (right).

Food & Stuff

Otley’s a busy market town, try The Junction pub for beer, Weegmans of Otley is probably the best local butcher for pies and stuff.

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