Eavesdrop is a sonic nature trail taking place in Otley over the summer of 2021

Over 200 hours of wildlife field recordings from Otley and its surrounding nature reserves have provided the inspiration and materials for a series of immersive sound pieces and accompanying musical compositions.

Plaques displaying QR codes, each linking to their own unique sound piece have been installed in five locations throughout the town.

Gallows Hill Nature Reserve

Courthouse Courtyard

Market Square

The Black Horse Yard

The Whitehouse

To experience the piece you will need a smart phone and a set of headphones.

Using the maps and directions below make your way to the plaque locations, scan the QR code and be transported to a wildlife rich sound world.

The installation launches as part of Otley Walking Festival on 26th June and will run throughout the summer finishing at Otley Wildlife Arts Festival on 2nd October.

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The trail is around 2 miles and will take between an hour and an hour and a half. The QR codes are active at all times however the Black Horse plaque is only accessible during opening hours (12:00 – 22:00) so plan your visit accordingly. There is a very steep hill towards the end and some uneven paths that are unsuitable for wheelchair users.

1. Gallows Hill

From the Gallows Hill car park follow the path that leads north east into the nature reserve. After a short distance there is a small path on the left that leads to a clearing where you will find the first plaque.

2. Courthouse Courtyard

From the Gallows Hill plaque make your way to the river bank and follow the path towards Otley. When you reach Buon Apps, turn left and cross Garnetts Field onto Riverdale Road. Continue up North Parade until you reach Courthouse Street, turn  right and the Courthouse Courtyard is a short distance on the right hand side where you will find the second plaque.

3. Market Square

Opposite the Courthouse Courtyard and slightly to the right is an alleyway. Follow this through to Boroughgate. Cross the road and turn right towards the market square. You’ll find the third plaque under the Buttercross, the covered structure next to the Jubilee Clock.

4. The Black Horse Yard

Head out of the Market Square and cross Kirkgate to the pub on the corner. Go through the main bar area and out the back into their yard. The fourth plaque is on the wall to your right hand side.

5. The White House

After a swift half in the pub, exit via the front doors and turn right onto Kirkgate. As you walk up the street, directly in front of you in the distance is the Chevin Forest and a White House about halfway up it. That’s where you’re heading! Make a beeline for it up Kirkgate, onto Station Road which eventually turns into Queens Terace. Cross the old railway lines and head up and over the footbridge, pass the field on the left with the goats and the cockerel who crows 24/7. Cross Birdcage Walk and head up the path. Now the real work begins. Just as you start to have mild heart palpitations you’ll find yourself at Johnny lane where you turn right up the gravel track towards the White House. You’ll find the fifth and final plaque on the fence over looking Otley.

A very special thank you to Richard Marsh.


Otley & Yeadon Ward Councillors