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  • Writer's pictureWildlife Friendly Otley

Otley Wildlife Arts Festival expands for 2022

Following the great success of last year's inaugural festival, the first of its kind, the Otley Wildlife Arts Festival is back again for 2022, this time bigger and better and over Friday and Saturday October 14 and 15. Planned to appeal a wider audience the festival will feature new artistic responses to the wonderful world of wildlife, as well as activities in schools during the week and music with a nature theme during the day on Saturday.

Opening the festival on the Friday evening is one of the UK’s best selling nature writers, Simon Barnes with a talk about his life and wildlife –“View from a Mountain”.

Simon Barnes has been writing on wildlife and conservation for more than 30 years; his books include the Bad Birdwatcher trilogy, Rewild Yourself and The History of the World in 100 Animals. He also writes on sport and was for 12 years chief sportswriter of The Times.

We are delighted to welcome back, for Saturday’s headline festival event at the Courthouse, top cameraman and film-maker Ian McCarthy (Blue Planet, Autumn Watch, Life in the Freezer, Planet Earth) back in Otley by popular demand with a brand new show - "Howling With Wolves". As well as awe-inspiring footage and fascinating stories, Ian says he will have you laughing, crying AND on the edge of your seat!

On the Saturday there will be once again a Free Exhibition at the Courthouse which will feature ten new artists to join last year's painters, sculptors, photographers, and writers etc, including a world champion wood carver! Creative and wildlife groups will have stalls at the Courthouse, and there will be events to look out for in other locations around town. Upstairs there will be new talks on subjects such as bumble bees, birds, barn owls, rewilding and climate change. There will also be special wildlife oriented activities for children.

New this year will be live music and poetry performances Saturday Lunchtime

(11 -3pm upstairs at the Horse & Farrier pub) reflecting the wildlife theme by local musicians and poets. Plus a special presentation by wellbeing in nature expert, Daphne Pleace.

Neil Griffin of Wildlife Friendly Otley which is organising the festival said: “We are delighted to have been able to attract such big names such as best selling nature author, Simon Barnes and the amazing wildlife film-maker Ian McCarthy. The exhibition at the Courthouse will show the diversity and strength of the town's creative output, which is quite astonishing. By supporting this event people can enjoy celebrating our wonderful wildlife, whilst at the same time helping the important work of Wildlife Friendly Otley.”
Neil Griffin added: “We are delighted and proud to announce that the festival is once again being supported again by Sinclair's of Otley and Otley Town Council (Community Development Fund). In addition this year we have attracted sponsorship from Leeds City Council’s Leeds Inspired fund and Wharfedale Naturalist Society. We are grateful to all out sponsors and supporters.”

Tickets (£10) for each evening event on the Friday and Saturday are available from Otley Courthouse. Details at

Look out for more events and the full programme details at



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