This year’s Otley Walking Festival has a bigger emphasis on wildlife, with more walks focusing on local nature as a result of a new collaboration with Wildlife Friendly Otley, who are leading four walks.
The Wildflower Walk, which was so popular last year, is being repeated, led once again by local ecologist and botanist Steve Heaton. Steve will also a lead a new walk around Otley’s favourite trees, as nominated by local residents in a survey. The two hour evening walk will cover tree folklore, ecology, uses, history and maybe a bit of evolution.
With more people aware of the value of nature for physical and mental health, Wildlife Friendly Otley has organised a “Finding Wellbeing in Nature” walk. Led by wellbeing specialist Daphne Pleace, it will be “less walk, more wellbeing”, covering techniques to improve your wellbeing via the natural world, including some brief time in silence.
Wildlife Friendly Otley’s education officer, Neil Griffin, will lead the “Where to Watch Wildlife in Otley” walk. The six-hour walk will be gently paced (with some uphill walking), and will visit several of the best places in Otley to spot wildlife, based on the group’s own wildlife leaflet and map, which is available free from Otley Library.
A spokesperson for Wildlife Friendly Otley said: “We are grateful to the Otley Walking Festival for including our wildlife walks in this year’s programme. Our aim is to help people to experience and enjoy the wonderful wildlife we have on our doorstep.”
Already the Wellbeing in Nature and Wildflower Walks are fully booked but there are places available on the other two. These walks are in addition to popular festival walks “Early Birds in the Wetland” starting at 5am, and Linda Jenkinson’s Birdsong Walk in Otley. There is a full programme of 45 walks and evening events in the festival programme (25 June - 3 July) for walkers to enjoy our beautiful countryside and being in nature.
Full details are on the festival’s website https://otleywalkingfestival.co.uk/
Wildlife Friendly Otley’s map ‘Where to see wildlife in an around Otley’ can be found at https://www.wildlifefriendlyotley.org.uk/where-to-see-wildlife