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An Experience to Remember, The Otley Walking Festival in Leeds

Updated on July 23, 2012

Welcome to Leeds, A Modern Metropolis, intertwined with natural landmarks such as the Otley Chevin, 11th century architecture, and avant-garde structures like Bridgewater Place. In the heart of the city, you're among Yorkshire's diverse indoor shopping centers, reputed to house one thousand retail stores, contemporary hotels, and authentic pubs. The Arts are celebrated here, including Opera and Ballet, festivals year round, and stage productions. Less than twenty miles from Leeds City Centre, is the Yorkshire Dales National Park where remarkable scenery ranges from expansive views of limestone hills to explorable caves. The Park has five visitor centres at the foremost destinations, and is a popular destination for walking and cycling. Horse riding, golf, and fishing are also prominent activities for outdoor lovers.

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This year marks the 11th year of the Otley Walking Festival in Leeds, and will be held June 25th, through July 3rd. Just 10 miles northwest of Leeds, Otley is overlooked by "The Chevin" an expanse of slopes with rocks and boulders, footpaths and bridlepaths. Visitors are invited to enjoy walking tours in both the downtown historic center and into the countryside with a range of events and activities to enjoy. One of many annual events, the Otley Walking Festival highlights stunning views of the city whilst strolling along walkways, or paths and showcases the unique trails and fields into the heart of nature. Much more than 'tours', volunteers act as guides to those who join the group for each exciting journey.

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From Saturday, June 25th to Sunday, July 3rd approximately 40 walks are organized with every skill level in mind, from one mile for one hour, to the extreme of 23 miles over 9 hours and include interesting history, folklore, facts, eating, drinking and fun. Meeting times vary for the walks and include early and late evening outings as well.

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Families with young children will enjoy the "Toddler's Treasure Trail", a themed walk with picnic tables available on Wednesday June 29th. Older kids with interest in geology, fossils, and even bats can find a great experience with Mom or Dad and easy walking.

Love nature? Start the festival off right joining the Nidderdale Noodle to enjoy pastures and river views on Saturday June 25th. Take the Six Dales Trail on Sunday, June 26th to walk the moors and valleys. Watch the sunrise on the Chevin slope during the "Earlybirds on the Chevin" Friday, July 1st. Adore places of times past? See the gorgeous architecture of Fountains Abbey and Markenfield Hall Thursday, June 30th.

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Explore the many pubs in and around Otley with tours geared towards those with a taste for the tipple. Yes, stout, ale, beer, whatever your name for it you can walk your way through an impressive selection. Start out at the Boots-n-Booze on Saturday, June 25th to work up a thirst, then party on the Wayzgoose Weave on Tuesday, June 28th or stroll amiably round (Some of)The Lost Pubs of Otley on Friday, July 1st.

Looking for a challenge that packs highlights along the trek? On Wednesday June 29th explore The Dales Way: Kettlewell to Ilkley takes you among hills and the riverside from one town to the next and on Thursday, June 30th, The Bolton Abby to Burnsall via Simon's Seat and Troller's Gill boasts a rewarding climb.

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The Otley Walking Festival in Leeds is an experience to remember with it's striking scenery and truly unique encounters with townspeople who love their home and love sharing it with you. You won't want to leave after making so many new friends and fond memories. Mark your calendar now, it's only a few weeks away.

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