Chevin Forest Park, Otley Review For Families

If you’re seeking a delightful escape into nature for the whole family, look no further than Chevin Forest Park, situated just a short distance south of the charming market town of Otley in West Yorkshire. This expansive park, consisting of Caley Deer Park, Chevin Forest Park, and The Chevin, offers a plethora of natural wonders and recreational opportunities that make it a fantastic destination for families seeking outdoor adventures and serene moments in nature.

As a family, we recently had the pleasure of exploring this sprawling 445-acre park, and we were captivated by the serene woodlands, historical charm, and recreational opportunities it offers. In this article, we will share our personal experiences and insights, ensuring you have all the information you need to plan your own visit to this delightful park.

Where is it Located?

Chevin Forest Park is nestled in the luscious Wharfe Valley, an idyllic location just 10 miles away from the bustling city of Leeds. Overlooking the quaint town of Otley, which lies approximately 2.5 miles away, this park offers the perfect blend of accessibility and natural beauty. With six conveniently located car parks on either side of East Chevin Road, getting here is a breeze.

History Of Chevin Forest Park

Before we delve into our family’s experience, let’s take a brief look at the history of this remarkable park. Chevin Forest Park isn’t just a place of natural beauty; it’s also an area of geological interest, with shale and sandstone formations dating back over 315 million years. In the 1800s, it served as a quarry, providing the sandstone used to build the foundations of the Houses of Parliament in the 1840s.

After World War Two, the land was generously donated to the Otley Urban District Council by landowner Walter Fawkes, as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the war. This rich history adds an extra layer of significance to the park’s already captivating landscape.

What is there to do for families?

Chevin Forest Park offers a wealth of activities that are perfect for families. From leisurely walks to adventurous hikes, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some highlights of our family’s visit:

Walking and Hiking Trails

As a family that loves to explore nature, we couldn’t resist the beautiful walking trails in Chevin Forest Park. There’s plenty to do for families, and we spent time here walking through the beautiful woodlands. The park boasts two National Walking Trails: the Dales Way Link and the Ebor Way. 

These trails provide stunning views of the Yorkshire countryside and are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The panoramic views along the trail were simply breathtaking, and our kids, Matilda and Barney, were fascinated by the diverse flora and fauna. The rocky terrain and woodland walks added an extra element of adventure to our hikes.

Biking Bliss

If you’re a biking enthusiast or have kids like Matilda who love to ride, Chevin Forest Park is a must-visit during the summer months. The park boasts fantastic biking trails suitable for all skill levels. We’re definitely planning to return with our bikes when the weather gets warmer. It’s not just the kids who had fun in the mud; we spotted plenty of young adventurers having a blast on their bikes.

Scenic Views

One of the highlights of our visit was the spectacular views. We couldn’t get enough of them! From Surprise View, you can catch breathtaking vistas of Otley, York, Harrogate, Skipton, and more. On a clear day, you can see up to 40 miles! The misty morning we arrived added a touch of mystery, but when the sun emerged, it was truly magical. You can easily spend hours here, soaking in the natural beauty and tranquillity.

Rock Climbing and Bouldering

For the more adventurous souls in the family, Chevin Forest Park offers excellent opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering, thanks to its Gritstone Rocks. While we didn’t try this ourselves, we saw many climbers tackling the rocky terrain with enthusiasm. It’s a fantastic place for those looking to challenge themselves physically and mentally.

Enjoy a Picnic in Nature’s Lap

One of our favourite activities at Chevin Forest Park was having a picnic surrounded by the lush woodlands. The park offers numerous designated picnic spots, and you can also find a peaceful, secluded spot to lay out your blanket. It’s the perfect way to relax and refuel during your visit. Barney and Matilda had a blast playing and exploring the area while we enjoyed some quality family time.

Facilities At Chevin Forest Park

Chevin Forest Park offers a range of facilities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit for families. Here are some of the amenities you can expect:

  1. Accessible Toilets: The park provides accessible toilets, including one with a hoist located next to the White House Café. The café is open from 10am to 2pm on weekdays (excluding Tuesdays) and from 11am to 3pm on weekends.
  2. Food and Drink: If you’re in need of refreshments or a quick bite to eat, head to the White House Café. They offer a selection of food and drinks to satisfy any cravings you may have during your visit.
  3. Parking: With six car parks available, parking at Chevin Forest Park is convenient and free of charge. However, please note that Yorkgate Quarry Car Park closes at 6pm.
  4. Rubbish Bins: The park provides rubbish bins throughout the area to ensure a clean and tidy environment for everyone to enjoy.

Wheelchair Access: Chevin Forest Park is committed to accessibility. It offers wheelchair access ramps at Surprise View, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy the magnificent views over the Wharfe Valley.

Areas For Improvement At Chevin Forest Park, Otley

While our experience at Chevin Forest Park was overwhelmingly positive, we believe it’s essential to highlight areas for improvement to ensure a pleasant visit for all families. One point to mention is that certain paths within the park are not suitable for buggies, mobility scooters, or scooters due to uneven surfaces and steep inclines. This can limit accessibility for some visitors, and we encourage park management to consider improving these paths for a more inclusive experience.

Would you recommend it?

Without a doubt, we wholeheartedly recommend Chevin Forest Park for families seeking an enjoyable and memorable outdoor adventure. The park offers a perfect balance of nature, recreation, and exploration. We had a fantastic time here, and Matilda and Barney were thrilled with the wide range of activities available.

There’s plenty to do for families, from hiking and biking to picnicking and exploring the woods. It’s a nice couple of hours of entertainment and outdoor fun, and we highly recommend it to other families looking for a memorable day out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a café?

Yes, Chevin Forest Park has the White House Café, which offers a range of food and drinks. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a cup of coffee during your visit.

What is your favourite part?

Our favourite part of Chevin Forest Park was Surprise View, where we were treated to stunning panoramic views of the Wharfe Valley. It’s a must-visit spot for anyone exploring the park

Are dogs allowed?

Yes, dogs are welcome in Chevin Forest Park. However, it’s important for dog owners to ensure their pets are well-behaved and do not disturb other visitors.

Can we bring our own bikes?

Absolutely! Chevin Forest Park is bike-friendly, and you can bring your own bikes to explore the designated bridleways. It’s a great way to enjoy the park’s natural beauty.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there are six car parks in and around Chevin Forest Park, providing free parking for visitors. You’ll find accessible parking as well.

Pros & Cons


  • Beautiful scenery
  • Abundance of trails for walking and cycling.
  • Haven for nature.


  • No play park for the kids (but lots of natural areas to explore).

Park enjoyment rating

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Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by Ryan

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