"Getting out of the city is refreshing. Only 25 minutes away on the bus and i find myself deep amongst the trees. Its quiet here, except for the rustling of the wind in the leaves, things seem to be untouched by the rush of the city. It's peaceful here. I can hear birds singing and a trickle of water further up the path. I am eager to explore. "
"We kept finding little streams and waterfalls on our walk around the forest. These were some of my favourite things about the forest, purely because of how realign I found the sound of running water in the quietness of everything else around me."
"Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does." - Margaret Atwood
"A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the Earth itself." - Laura Gilpin
Rocks and Boulders
"When you got a bit further out of the trees there were a lot of big rocks and boulders which we spent a good 30/45 minutes attempting (and failing) to climb. The rocks seemed to rise up out of the trees as if they were keeping watch over the valley and the forest below them. A lot of the rocks had red/orange marks on them which kind of reminded me of war paint or tribal face paint, making them even more interesting to look at and explore. One of the rocks had 'Will You Marry Me?' engraved on it. It was nice to think that someone had created there own piece of history here."
"The panoramic view from the top of the forest was easily one of my favourite parts of the day. You really do feel on top of the world here, so big stood above everything below, but also a sense of how small you are when you see all that there is around you. You really do feel a sense of freedom up this high, like a weight has been lifted."
Carrot the Giant Puppy
"On our walk we met a very friendly and excitable dog named Carrot. I stopped and had a chat with his owners who told me Carrot is a Labrador/Poodle mix and was only 8 months old! Carrot was HUGE, I though he'd be a full grown dog but he's still only a puppy! I love spending time with dogs so this was a nice little bonus to our walk."
A Throne in the Forest and A Tree with a Scarf
"This is a chair that we found in the forest. I loved how nice it looked with the roots of the chair going back into the ground, reconnecting with the Earth. I quite liked the idea of this being a throng for an animal or woodland deity or something like that. I think that quite an interesting story could be created from this."
"Towards the end of the walk we stumbled across a small tree which had got all these bright, knitted pieces of fabric around it. I think they'd been made by a local church nearby. I found it quite funny because it looked like someone was trying to keep the tree warm over the winter so had knitted it some nice warm accessories."
Otley Chevin Forest History - The Danefield Estate
. The Danefield estate was the start of the planned afforestation on this part of the Chevin, it was owned by Walter Fawkes.
. Would have been privately owned so public access would have been limited
. Fawkes family also created a Deer Park and stocked it with exotic game.
. In the early 1900's there are references to a small toll booth where people would have to pay a fee to use the private track through the Danefield woods from East Chevin Road.
"There were no specific signs near these ruins to tell us what they were but i have a feeling they're part of the toll booth on the Danefield Estate. It was quite eerie to spend some time around these ruins, they'd been left for so long that the Earth had started taking them back, plants grew over the bricks, entwined in cracks in the rock and different kinds of foliage few from cracks in walls. Moss covered a lot of the bricks making the ruins seem green from a distance."
Otley Chevin Forest History - Iron Age Settlements and the Victorian Period
. 10,000 years ago glaciers retreated in Wharfedale. The local discovery of a fossilised reindeer antler indicates a land bridge across the North Sea enabling reindeer to cross from the Russian Arctic to Yorkshire
. Excavation in 1996-7 discovered a hut circle, hearth and earthworks from the Iron Age.
. Thousands of flint arrowheads, knives and scrapers have been found on the Chevin, telling us that Stone Age and Bronze Age people were using this land for travelling/hunting and temporary camps.
. The second half of the 19th century saw advances in transport and communication which increased the industrial and recreational use of the Chevin landscape.
. By the end of the 18th Century, leisure activities were gradually becoming popular and rambling and cycling clubs in Leeds were being established.
. Due to the upsurge in tourism, farmers took the opportunity to supplement their income and provide refreshments for visitors. White House Farm was situated halfway up the climb. Jenny's Cottage was at the top of the Chevin where refreshments had been served since about the 1830's.
. The traditional lighting of the beacon/ bonfire on top of the chives was continued in the Victorian Era but only in times of celebration e.g. Jubilee's of Queen Victoria.
Otley Chevin Forest History - 1901 to 1950 and 1951 to Today
. Most of the trees on the Danefield Estate were felled to provide timber for war effort.
. 1019 trees were sold to local timber merchants for £2000.
. Beech Trees were used for rifle butts, Sweet Chestnut was used for railway sleeps and Oak was used for coffins.
. This is the main reason that most trees on the Danefield Estate are relatively young (below 70 years), only a few that escaped felling are older.
. Since the 1950's multiple plots of land have been bought to expand the park.
. Tree's felled from the war were replanted in the 50's.
. In 1974 the local government reorganisation saw the management of the Danefield Estate pass from Otley Urban District Council to Leeds City Council.
. In 1989 all of Chevin Forest Park was designated as a local nature reserve in recognition of its value for people and wildlife.
"All Nature Has A Feeling"
"All nature has a feeling: woods, fields brooks
Are life eternal: and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There's nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again blooms revivified.
It's birth was heaven, eternal is it's stay,
And with the soon and moon shall still abide,
Beneath their day and night
And heaven wide
- John Clare
"Everyone Should Have Themselves Regularly Overwhelmed By Nature" - George Harrison