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Letting Agents in Otley - About Otley

Easy Location Lets are the premier letting agents in Otley, West Yorkshire.

As Letting Agents in Otley, we are proud of this busy market town in the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, by the River Wharfe. Historically Otley is part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town has a total resident population of 14,348 according to a census of 2001.

Otley lies in Wharfedale, and is divided in two by the River Wharfe. It is surrounded mostly by arable farmland.

Letting Agents in Otley have the enviable task of finding and letting properties all over this beautiful area. The south side of the valley is dominated by a large gritstone escarpment overlooking Otley called The Chevin. In 1944, Major Le G.G.W. Horton Fawkes of Farnley Hall donated 263 acres (1.1 km²) of land on the Chevin to the people of Otley. This has now been expanded to 700 acres (2.8 km²) and is known as Chevin Forest Park. It was from the quarry on The Chevin that the foundation stones for the Houses of Parliament were hewn. This is a fantastic recreational area which is made great use of by the people of Otley and beyond.

About Otley

To the east and west of Otley there are flooded gravel pits, where sand and gravel have been extracted in the 20th century. The gravel pits to the east are known as Knotford Nook, and are a noted birdwatching site. Those to the west are devoted to angling and sailing.

To the West are the nearby villages of Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston. To the East is the smaller village of Pool-in-Wharfedale.

The town hosts Wharfedale General Hospital which serves the surrounding area, and also Prince Henry's Grammar School, which holds Language college status.

Going back in history, the town dates from before Roman times, and belonged to the Archbishopric of York. Otley is close to Leeds and thus may have formed part of the kingdom of Elmet. The southern flank of the Wharfe valley which lies above Otley is known as The Chevin a term that has close parallels to the welsh term "Cefn", meaning ridge and may be a survival of the ancient cumbric language. Remains of the old Archbishop's Manor House were found during the construction of St Joseph's RC Primary School near the River Wharfe. The town formed an important crossing point of the River Wharfe and was an administrative centre in the wapentake of Skyrack in the early medieval period, and this importance continued with its being the seat of the Mid-Wharfedale Urban District council up until the local council reorganisation of 1974.

The first church was built there in the early 7th century. In All Saints Parish Church there are the remains of two Early Anglo-Saxon crosses, one of which has been reproduced for the town's war memorial. Buried there is an ancestor of the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and the grandparents of Thomas Fairfax who commanded Parliament's forces at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644. In the graveyard of the parish church stands a replica of an entrance to the Bramhope Railway Tunnel, a monument to those killed during its construction.

Otley is a market town and has held a regular market for more than a thousand years, granted by agents of the king. Market days are Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and there is also a Farmers' Market on the last Sunday of every month. Documented history for the market begins in 1222 when agents of King Henry III granted the first Royal Charter. Cattle markets are still held in Otley. The Bridge End Auction Mart closed a number of years ago and has now been demolished, letting the Otley Wharfedale Farmer's Auction Mart on East Chevin Road take over.

Thomas Chippendale, the famous furniture maker, was born at Farnley near Otley, and his statue stands in the town next to the old Prince Henry's Grammar School in Manor Square that he once attended. The current site of Prince Henry's Grammar School is in Farnley Lane.

J.M.W. Turner, the famed painter, visited Otley in 1797, aged 22, when commissioned to paint watercolours of the area. He was so attracted to Otley and the surrounding area that he returned time and time again. His friendship with Walter Ramsden Fawkes made him a regular visitor to Farnley Hall, two miles from Otley. The stormy backdrop of Hannibal Crossing The Alps is reputed to have been inspired by a storm over Otley's Chevin while Turner was staying at Farnley Hall.

The Wharfedale Printing Machine was developed in Otley by William Dawson and William Payne. An early example can be seen in Otley Museum.

Famous Methodist preacher John Wesley was a frequent visitor to the town in the 18th century. Allegedly his horse died in the town and is buried in the grounds of the parish church. Its grave is marked by an unusual toblerone-shaped stone, also known locally as the "Donkey Stone". In his Journal for 1761 we read, "July 6 Monday; In the evening I preached at Otley and afterwards talked with many of the Society. There is reason to believe that ten or twelve of these are filled with the love of God." One of the main streets in Otley (Wesley Street) is still named after him.


For its size, Otley has a diverse range of cultural organisiations. It is unusual in that it has five active Morris dance sides based in the town. These are:

  • Wharfedale Wayzgoose (Border)
  • The Buttercross Belles (Ladies Northwest)
  • Flash Company (Border, Molly, Appalachian & Clog)
  • Hellz Bellz (Contemporary)
  • Kitchen Taps (Appalachian Step)

The town also has a number of active drama groups, including Otley Community Players, Otley Youth Theatre (OY) and a thriving arts centre in the former courthouse. There is also a poetry society which attracts members from around the local area and meets in the Black Horse Hotel monthly. The town also has a thriving Brass Band who appear at many of the events in the town. The band is not a regular contesting band, but did win first prize in the unregistered section at their first contest at Hardraw Scar in September 2007. The band is also unusual in being quite large and when at full strength has no less than 6 trombones, 4 euphoniums and 7 tubas on stage at the same time.

Otley hosts the annual Otley Folk Festival in September (book early as most hotel rooms in the town are pre booked from the previous year) as well as the popular Victorian Fayre in December, Carnival in June and in May what is reputed to be the oldest one day agricultural show in the country. There is also a beer festival organised by the church every November which also includes performances by Prince Henry's Grammar School's music department.

Otley is also the hometown of New York City based rock band Your Vegas who signed to Universal Records in 2007. The band often mention Otley in interviews and the "Town" mentioned in their debut album title A Town And Two Cities is believed to be in reference to Otley.


Otley features as the town of "Hotton" in the ITV television soap opera Emmerdale, and is also a regular filming spot for ITV's Heartbeat crew. In fact the old Police Station shown in Heartbeat is actually the Otley Courthouse - now an arts centre. Letting agents in Otley have been approached for filming locations in the past and expect to be so again in the futre, so keep your eyes peeled for film crews and cameras!

More recently, the town has been the setting for the drama series "The Chase" and much filming for the ITV dramatisation of the "The Bad Mother's Handbook" was carried out in the town and surrounding area.

Otley Market was once mentioned in passing in an episode of the BBC television comedy programme, The League of Gentlemen. The creators studied at the relatively nearby University of Leeds. It was also briefly mentioned in the BBC sitcom Porridge by the character 'Blanco' Webb, played by David Jason.

Otley's pubs

Otley once vied with a select handful of towns in England for the distinction of having the most pubs per head of population. Indeed it was mentioned in a BBC Radio 4 More or Less programme broadcast in April 2008. The story also featured on the BBC website.

There are currently 22 pubs, although the Spite (properly known as the Roebuck) and the Royalty are both on the outskirts of the town, with the Spite actually located in North Yorkshire. The Black Horse Hotel situated in the centre of town is both the biggest pub and biggest hotel. The Black Bull in the town's Market Place, was allegedly drunk dry by Cromwell's troops on the night before the battle of Marston Moor during the English Civil War. The Junction Inn, just a minute walk from the bus station has won numerous awards for its beer including a CAMRA award for best pub. It has seven different real ales on at any one time and has live bands playing weekly. It is a popular pub for those traveling to the Otley Folk Festival.


The main roads for the town are the A660 to the south east, which connects Otley to Bramhope, Adel and Leeds city centre, and the A65 to the west, which goes to Ilkley and Skipton. The A6038 heads to Guiseley, Shipley and Bradford, with a brief stint on the A65. To Harrogate, the A659 heads east to the A658, which is the main Bradford-Harrogate road. From the A1, Otley is connected along the A659, and the M1 connects to Leeds via the M621. The M62 connects via Leeds or Bradford.

By bus, Otley is served by the following services:

  • X84: Leeds - Bramhope - Otley - Ilkley - Skipton
  • 33A: Leeds - Kirkstall - Horsforth - Yeadon - Guiseley - Otley
  • 757: Leeds - Leeds Bradford International Airport - Pool - Otley
  • 653: Bradford - Shipley - Guiseley - Otley - Pool - Harrogate

These services are operated by either FirstGroup plc Leeds or FirstGroup Bradford. There are also numerous local services connecting the town and outlying areas. Timetables are available from West Yorkshire Metro.

Otley railway station closed in 1967, however, a regular bus service (967) runs from Menston station, which is on the Wharfedale Line from Leeds, Bradford and Ilkley. Also, the 653 bus service stops at Weeton station on the Harrogate Line from Leeds and Harrogate. Timetables are available from West Yorkshire Metro.

Otley is also close to Leeds Bradford International Airport, and the 757 bus service connects directly to the town.

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