The town where I live is involved in a project called Walkers are Welcome, it’s a way of encouraging visitors to the local towns. It means there are several leaflets detailing local walks, anything from two miles to 37 miles!!! Last year I spotted a new one in the library called the Guiseley Gap walk and a week ago my friend and I decided to walk half of it. The leaflet reckons it’s 8.8 miles, however we walked about half of it and according to fitbit we walked about 7 miles…and no, we didn’t get lost!
We live in Wharfedale in the market town of Otley, the next valley down is Airedale and Guiseley is just over the hill from us in Airedale. Apparently there’s a hanging valley in between the two, I can’t say it’s noticeable though, but this walk goes through the ‘gap’, hence the name. The leaflet has information about the sites of interest you pass and a map, I must admit when I first saw the map I wasn’t too impressed as it’s so simplistic. However, having used it, it is perfect, we used it a lot more than the OS map of the area, it has just enough detail on.
It’s a circular walk but the route is almost a figure of eight shape, it just doesn’t cross over, if you get my drift. We decided to park in the middle between the two sides of the path, so we could just walk half of it without a long walk back to the car.
We started in Guiseley, up through Parkinson’s Park and along various old paths and tracks round the back of Guiseley, passed some lovely woods. We then followed a very slippery, muddy path with a barbed wire fence on on side and a stream on the other – not our favourite bit of the walk!
It proved to lead to an easy way up to Surprise View on Otley Chevin. As the name suggests the views up here are great, especially when you can spot the sites of earlier walks. Here’s Arncliffe Crag which we walked up in August…
In the other direction, looking up Wharfedale you can just make out a cone shaped peak on the left of the horizon, that’s Sharp Haw which we walked up over the summer. We sat and ate our sandwiches and enjoyed the view.
The path then took us along the ridge of Otley Chevin, the views the other way are more industrial but still impressive. This one is looking over to Bradford and beyond to the Pennines…
Looking to the left and the view is towards Leeds…
The autumn colour on the chevin was beautiful, there’s lots of beech trees and they are a lovely copper colour at the moment. I love walking through the crunchy leaves too. This end of the Chevin is a lot quieter, we found a reat tree swing and of course I had to have a go – I wasn’t very gainly when trying to get off!!
From the Chevin we walked back towards Guiseley across the fields and down some old tracks. We passed a cluster of trees known locally as the Elephant Copse…I think they have vivid imaginations in Guiseley!!!
We carried on into Guiseley until we reached the car. It was a good walk, the weather held off until we got home and although we were close to home, we discovered lots of new paths. We’re hoping to do the other half soon.