Otley in BloomOIB_BIBloom_LOGO.jpg

Growing civic pride in Otley

Celebrating 20 years of Otley in Bloom

Posted by billa on February 20, 2020

Archive section

Otley in Bloom was founded in 2000 to enhance the town and here are some of the critical documents which show the path which we have followed in the last 20 years.

Annual Portfolios

2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013

Annual Portfolios are documents that OIB put together to show Otley to the "In Bloom" judges.  They demonstrate what the improvements of the year and what has been done in the past so that Judges can see our direction of travel.

Special Projects

2005:  Otley in Bloom developed a plan which can be read at Otley Town Enhancement Plan this was a development from our proposals in 2004.

2004:  Otley in Bloom developed 50 Ways to Green our Town and a detailed Action Plan for each element


During the rest of the year, we will un-earth further files for publication here.

Annual Report

Posted by billa on January 07, 2020

Chair's report for Otley in Bloom 6 Nov 2019


We really have got stuck into some great project work over the past 12 months (in no particular order);


  • Starting the year with the big graffiti clean up
  • Replanting at Piper Lane hoardings
  • The dog poo sticker competition with schools
  • Displays at the Christmas Tree Festival and Flower Festival.
  • Cleaning out and repairing bird boxes
  • Improvements in Charles St car park and Courthouse St car park
  • Enhancements to the outside space at Union Court
  • Clean up and bulb planting at Kell Beck
  • Improvements to the lawn at Gas Works Corner


When combined with all the usual ongoing tasks and winning a Silver Gilt for the town in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition it is an achievement not to be sniffed at.


The three pillars that “in Bloom” groups work within are; community involvement, environmental awareness and horticultural excellence and all these projects fit well into these pillars. We have mainly taken on projects we have been asked to by residents, perhaps next year we should set our own agenda?


We have a fabulous core of about 15 volunteers who I always find a delight to work with, often in small groups, or 1-2-1, so you get to know people and that is lovely. Looking forward, the YIB judges comment that with a small team we might need to think a bit smarter about what we do and how we do it is turning around in my head.


As Otley in Bloom goes into its 20th anniversary year I'm looking forward to watching from the outside what the group chooses to focus its attention on, and it is a good excuse to have a critical think about what the volunteers in the group are interested in as Otley in Bloom is nothing without its wonderful people, and the world has moved on in the last 20 years so it is okay to change with it.


Katie Burnett....signing off...


Myers Croft Beck clean up again

Posted by billa on November 10, 2019

November 2019

Due to heavy rains for the past month and the development of some wonderful plant growth, this secret little wildlife-friendly enclave to the south of Sainsbury's carpark was flooding and making the footpath from Myers Croft to Gay Lane impassible.


OIB had been very much part of developing this little space so we put on the wellies and dug out the blockage on Remembrance Sunday. Hopefully, this will help drain out the local yards.





On 22 may Otley in Bloom teamed up with members of the Bethel church to clean up this beck which runs up behind Sainsburys through the centre of Otley.  It was part of our programme to involve local groups with the care of the urban environment and the Bethel Church borders the stream. We cleared a lot of rubbish which was blocking the stream. The stream is now flowing more freely, clearing space for the yellow wild irises which should flower soon. We aim to discourage people from leaving rubbish and dog poo bags there. We will be putting up a sign to advise local residents using the footpath and bridge about looking after it.

Otley wins Silver Gilt

Posted by billa on September 11, 2019

2019; The Yorkshire in Bloom awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 10th September in the grand surroundings of York Race Course.  The town was delighted to be awarded a Silver Gilt award.

Katie Burnett, the chair said “it is always a pleasure to take the judges on a tour around the town and show them all the great projects that the people of Otley are involved in which enhance the green spaces in the town.  The judges are always very impressed by how many different volunteer groups the town has that are all working towards the same goals, the involvement of the local businesses through Otley BID and the environmental credentials of Otley Town Council.”

The group will be celebrating 20 years of making Otley bloom in 2020 and have some members who have been involved since the early days.  David Bellerby, the competition coordinator, remarked “the judging criteria has changed in the 20 years with more emphasis now being put on sustainable planting and wildlife-friendly planting rather than bedding plant displays.  Our practices have to reflect how the community benefits from having great green spaces and the number of people who benefit.  However some things remain the same, the judges mark us down very severely for litter, graffiti, dog mess and weeds, and those issues never seem to go away.”

The group would like to thank all the residents, businesses, and groups who contribute to the Yorkshire in Bloom effort and particularly thank Neil Wilson and the LCC Parks team who continue to do an incredible job with ever-dwindling resources.

2018; Otley in Bloom is proud to announce we received SILVER GILT in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition.

We're very pleased with this result as it was a challenging year with the flowers, with a cold spring and the hot dry summer.  But we are pleased our endeavours working in the community have shone through.  Thank you lovely people of Otley for your continuing support.

Otley wants wildflower verges?

Posted by billa on July 28, 2019

Otley in Bloom is asking the people of Otley, do you want the town verges to be made of wildflowers that look like this rather than just green grass?




The first town that took up this idea is Rotherham. They worked with a charity, Plantlife, to modify their mowing practice on a number of verges and spread local and brought in wildflower seed to develop an amazing series of beautiful verges.


Working with Plantlife the team developed how to achieve this, ensuring good, safe sight-lines for cars while at the same time reducing the cost of mowing and providing better areas for insects to get access to a range of British wildflowers.  The mowing programme changes to an early mow in March/April to give the flowers a chance to grow ahead of the grass and then is not mowed again until late in August/September once the flowers have shed their seeds. 


If you want to know more about the details of how this is done then down-load this pdf from Plantlife.  The downside seems to be that the verges will not look like a lawn for a period and may look a little untidy.  The upside seems to be larger number of flowers for bees to work and better nature avenues for other animals.  Plus it is more colourful and lower cost.


If you want to share your views, please drop a note to our OIB facebook page

The judges are coming!

Posted by billa on July 01, 2019


On Tuesday 9th July in the afternoon, the Yorkshire in Bloom judges will be touring Otley to see how well we’re doing.  We usually do really well in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition, let’s hope Otley can make a good impression this year too. 

We will be having a Big Clean Up on Sunday 7th July at 10 am at the Buttercross.  This is a fun process and equipment will be provided but you might want to bring your own gloves and clothes that don't mind a bit of dirt.  Please come along if you can spare the time and help out.

On Monday 8th July at 7 pm we will have a final clear up just to tidy up things missed or any new litter.

Please come along if you can spare the time and help out.

If you have a house or a business in the centre of Otley you can help us by making sure your patch is litter-free, and any floral displays you have are looking their best, and that any dead plants are removed – also it makes the town nicer for all of us!  

The weather has been making a real effort to help us and a lot of houses and businesses are looking pretty wonderful.  Thank you all for the work done so far.

There are some wonderful sights in Otley at the moment,just choosing two at random.





Flower Festival

Posted by billa on June 30, 2019


The festival was its usual pretty self with lots of input from local people and groups.  Music was also provided by local musicians.  OIB just had to be there.

Timayane Day at Prince Henry's

Posted by billa on June 29, 2019


Once again pupils and teachers from Prince Henry's Grammar school who have been working with us today on 3 projects : planting a wildflower bed in Courthouse St car park, renovating a sensory flowerbed at Union Court and adding climbers to their new trellising, and replanting a flowerbed in Charles St car park which we haven't quite finished yet. Thank you again folks, you were fabulous.



Again the kids and teachers from Prince Henry's gave up their time to improve Otley's appearence, thank you for the hard work and for bringing so much fun to the project.  Click here for details.



Pupils from Prince Henry's School spent Timayane Day working for Otley in Bloom.  Here they are planting up up the lamppost planters, which will be displayed around Otley.


They braved some wet and windy weather to plant up the big new three-tiered planter which replaces the tubs on Kirkgate.



They planted up the square wooden planters in Orchardgate.



And they weeded and tidied up at Gasworks Corner, the Community Garden in Cambridge Street.


Many thanks for all your help, all of you, and hope you enjoyed your day.

Bremner Street corner

Posted by billa on May 12, 2019

Bremner Street corner was tidied up again this weekend12/5/19.  The condition of the corner was pretty good. Not too much litter, (thanks Otley), only about a litter bag full.

The majority of the work was to clear the name of the road, weed at the front of the corner and trim back those bushes which were growing onto the pavement.  Behind the front bushes there was a bit of scrubbing up of small plants and a discussion on what to do with the laurels in the midst and the opportunity to plant another fine tree at the rear. 

Lovely weather with small birds singing their hearts out.  Thanks to everyone for turning up and helping.


 we put out new bird boxes in the winter and that is one of the reasons the birds were singing






Bremner Street corner got a tidy 19/7/17


Eleven people (must be a record) turned out on Sunday morning to help tidy up the garden at Bremner Street, opposite Asda.  We litter picked, pruned, weeded, and added a few colourful plants to the front to cheer up passing motorists.

Fire station re-cycled

Posted by billa on May 04, 2019

To celebrate the latest Tour de Yorkshire we thought we should replace the willow bikes, that had survived for 5 years, with some re-cycled ones.  Six of us tidied up,



we tried the three bikes in different positions,



the fire station gave us a cuppa,


we planted up the bike baskets


and we managed to do all this and keep dry. 


Springfield Place cleaned up

Posted by billa on March 26, 2019


Otley in Bloom met to tidy up the space in front of the advertising hordings by Springfield Place on Sunday 24th of March. It was a beautiful sunny day and around 12 of us cleared all the litter that had accumulated of the past few years, dug out the massive weeds, planted a line of small Box plants, planted a young tree inside a wooden frame and prepared the space for further planting. To protect the area from cars and vans parking on the space we then set large stones into the earth, leveled the surface, sprinkled grass seed on the unplanted spaces and gravel around the Box plants.



The objective is to provide a low maintenance area and the design tries to control weeds and simplify grass cutting while offering security from traffic.


It was a great morning out and the cake was fantastic!


Why not come along and join in with the next project?

Birdbox Clean up

Posted by billa on February 21, 2019

We've been out cleaning and replacing our bird boxes, removing damaged ones and adding a few more. The great news is that every box had a nest in it. We have started using this new style with a metal sheet around the hole to prevent predation and a hinged lid so you can get inside them easily to clean them.  Who wants to raise their young in a dirty nest?

Your job for the week is to clean out any bird boxes in your garden ready for the new season, removing old nests and giving them a wash prevents the build-up of pests and diseases.