A ‘Discovery Day’ at The White House on the Chevin above Otley turned out to be a reassurance, an eye-opener and a real delight rolled into one.

Real and digital adventures and information about the local area were organised by Neil Griffin (Wildlife Friendly Otley) and Penny Redwood (Friends of Chevin Forest). Alongside their events were all the local groups they have drawn together for the first joint event. These included Otley 2030/East of Otley Action; Yorkshire Wildlife Trust; Otley Community Allotment/Land Trust; Walkers Are Welcome; Wharfedale Drystone walling; The Forest School, University of Leeds science outreach; a Leeds needle crafter with local connections and a host of energetic volunteers from Otley, Leeds, Rawdon and beyond.

Families flocked to pond dipping; the joys of geo-cache and other outdoor learning experiences at forest school; self-guided art, science, mathematics and digital ‘sonic’ trails; circus skills and gorgeous homemade treats made with community allotment ingredients. The White House garden was bright with gazebos and tents sheltering exhibitions, refreshments, fun activities and information about how minds and bodies benefit from taking more care and notice of the incredible nature on our doorstep.

Experts engaged with all age groups on how local natural areas support happier communities as well as contributing to halting the climate crisis. Young and old learnt about preserving the massive local bio-diversity of birds, butterflies and creepy crawlies. Visitors were tempted to capture awesome nature with the eye of a professional photographer, or the practical skills of a needle crafter- her animal fur seemed alive on the tapestry.

Prizes were won from local author Tony Cotton for engagement with the mathematics trail which made any age group think differently.

Declaring the day “exhausting but brilliant” parents and organisers are working together on upcoming events.

Otley 2030’s free and inclusive ‘Festival of Kindness’ is on September 24-26th organised by Shannon Coles and art lovers have an exhibition at the Courthouse in early October.