Golden Acre Park & Otley Chevin

An afternoon outing took us to Golden Acre Park. It wasn't very busy. Most of the people that had enjoyed a picnic there had packed up and were on there way to the parking lot.

Golden Acre Park in full bloom
There was this sign next to the lake at Golden Acre Park that described all of the wildlife we were likely to see while there. Among them were: water voles, mink, waterfowl, migrant warblers, nuthatches, moorhen, coots, great crested grebe and freshwater crayfish. Golden Acre Park is a mix of woodland, parkland and marshland that was originally opened as an amusement park in 1932. The majority of the park and woodland has several paths and boardwalks. These were the ones we walked on. There are some very large trees, especially beech and conifers.

We also walked by a demonstration garden for vegetables and flowers, a cottage garden, an arboretum, limestone and sandstone rock gardens, a cherry orchard, a fountain, a pinetum, an ornamental pond and a display house. It's truly a wonderful place to get lost in. This is the picture of a Columbine in bloom that I took at Golden Acre Park.
Study of a Columbine

View of Otley Chevin
After supper we headed out for another drive. This time to the market town of Otley on the banks of the River Wharfe. It's brimming with history.

The name seems to be Celtic in origin and the Iron Age culture that the Romans found when they marched North to found York in 7 AD. Early references to Otley as Scefinge or Scefine in the Celtic language can be translated as "below the ridge." In fact Otley is located below the 814ft Chevin ridge. By the time of the Norman Conquest, it had gained the name of Othelai and grew rapidly, being by Richard III's reign significantly larger than Bradford.

There were several castles here in the Middle Ages. Battles were fought on nearby Bramham Moor and Martson Moor. There's a story that says in 1644 on the eve of a battle, Cromwell's soldiers took over the Black Bull in Market Place and drunk it dry. It doesn't seem too far fetched.

Today, you can still see Victorian, Georgian and still earlier buildings. Around the river, the streets still have a medieval street pattern and have a bunch of 17th and 18th century houses and inns. Some can be found in Bondgate, Kirkgate and Manor Square.

Thomas Chippendale, the celebrated 18th century cabinet maker and designer, is one of Otley's best known natives. I believe I've heard of his work. Some of his work can be found at Temple Newsam House in Leeds and Nostell Priory near Wakefield.

If you're a fan of Emmerdale, you'll recognize Otley as Hotton - the market town featured in the television show.

Otley Chevin

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Travel Diary I
2003-2006 My Travel Diary