Woodcock Walk Launched

The Otley Woodcock Walk, a poetry trail celebrating the iconic woodcock, has been launched with the unveiling of a sculpture in the Chevin Forest Park.

The poem, entitled ‘Roding’ is written by official Town Poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard with guidance and sound recordings by Richard Marsh and stone sculpture by Shane Green.

Penny Redwood, the Chair of Friends of Chevin Forest, said: “The Woodcock is the symbol you see on signs across the Chevin and was chosen because it represents the balance between nature and people on the same piece of land. Because they nest on the ground they are easily disturbed by dogs off leads and bikes leaving the paths.”


“We know there used to be Woodcock on the Danefield side of the Chevin because there is a famous painting by Turner showing someone shooting them there, but today we do not know how many pairs still breed on our much-loved wooded slopes. It is great they still nest near the White House, and this poem helps more people learn about them and hopefully respect the need to keep some parts of the Chevin undisturbed” added Penny.


The Otley Woodcock Walk highlights the responsibility of shared land ownership and taking care of species, such as the woodcock, which are threatened by our actions. The trail can be used by walking groups and creative writing groups of all ages and an accompanying fact sheet with ecology and poetic notes and prompts is available here.

If you download the free Echoes Explore App (available via Google Play or from the Apple Store) the words of the four stanzas come to life as you walk along the route at four different locations (starting from Johnny Lane it is approx. 1 mile up towards the White House and back down the tarmac track).

Special thanks to Otley Town Council for including this project in the Town Poet scheme and to Leeds City Council Outer North West Community Committee for funding the sculpture.