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  • Writer's pictureWildlife Friendly Otley


Updated: Sep 1, 2023

George McGavin, Wildlife Life Otley’s new patron
George McGavin, Wildlife Friendly Otley’s new patron

Wildlife TV presenter and leading entomologist George McGavin, and best selling nature writer Amy-Jane Beer are two top names at this year’s Otley Wildlife Arts Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 6-8th October.

Returning for its third year, this popular festival organised by Wildlife Friendly Otley begins for the first time with music on the Friday night. Announcing the programme, lead organiser and trustee of Wildlife Friendly Otley Neil Griffin said: “The festival will showcase both local and national talent, engaging people with the wonderful world of wildlife through different forms of artistic expression. Just as last year’s festival was that bit bigger and better than 2021, so this year’s programme will include new work, new people and new venues. We are delighted to have as headline attractions, our new patron, Dr George McGavin and Amy-Jane Beer, president of the Friends of the Dales, speaking at the festival.

The core of the festival will again be the free exhibition of wildlife art and photography at the Courthouse on the Saturday from 10 till 4, plus a variety of stalls by local wildlife organisations.

The headline attractions will be the ticketed events over three evenings. Opening the festival at the Courthouse Boff Whalley (Chumbawamba) and Daniel Bye will perform a special version of their show “These Hills Are Ours”, and they will invite people to join them the next day for a local run.

Saturday evening features a talk by Yorkshire-based naturalist and writer Amy-Jane Beer, author of more than 40 books on natural history, while Sunday evening features Wildlife Friendly Otley’s new patron, the leading entomologist, environmental campaigner and television presenter George McGavin.

Booking is open now at the Courthouse.

The festival’s popular programme of free short talks will this year be held downstairs at the Labour Rooms in Nelson Street during the day on the Saturday. Topics include “Learning to love Dandelions and Stinging Nettles”, the Permaculture Association, the Yorkshire Rewilding Network, the newly community-owned Weston Woods and local fungi.

This year there will be an increased emphasis on participation. As well as the ever-popular children’s wildlife art workshop at Otley library, there will be several free workshops for adults. Professional artist Kim Coley will be running a linocut printing workshop at Art Works; while leader of the Healing Arts Group Sandra Flitcroft will run a found poetry workshop using old nature books as a stimulus. Richard Sabey of the Woolpack Studios will be leading a workshop helping people to make nature-inspired music using samples of wildlife sounds.

“We are delighted that for the third year running the festival is supported by local business Sinclair’s Products and receives funding from Otley Town Council’s Community Development Fund,” added Neil Griffin. “The music workshop is supported by Leeds Inspired.”

See the festival programme and updates at


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