Otley will stake its claim to be one of the UK’s premier pub towns today with the launch of an ‘ale trail’.

Otley Pub Club has chosen Valentine’s Day to unveil its Historic Otley Ale Trail, a leaflet featuring a map of the town and a guide to all of its 18 inns.

The group hopes the initiative, an idea by MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) that has been researched and produced by pub club volunteers, will boost both the local licensed trade and tourism.

Club chairman Peter Jackson says it is the first time a tourism trail of this kind, featuring not just Otley’s running pubs but also those ‘lost’ over time along with some historical detail, has been produced.

He said: “The Historic Otley Ale Trail is an excellent way of showing the current and historical importance of pubs to Otley and, importantly, it will help encourage people to visit them and the town, helping to boost trade.

“Ale trails are popular in other areas and in themselves have become a reason for people to visit a town.

“They can be particularly helpful for the ‘outlying pubs’ that do not attract town centre custom, and also for making people realise the town is a good place for a night out.”

The project has been sponsored by FirstBus, WharfeBank Brewery, Enterprise Inns, Market Town Taverns, Punch Taverns, Otley Town Council and, through a donation from his Members Improvements in the Community and Environment money, Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon).

Pub Club president Mr Mulholland said: “I am delighted the ale trail will be available for visitors to the town to discover all of its 18 pubs, as well as providing information on the ‘lost’ ones.

“The trail will be an excellent tool for promoting the town as a historic pub town, and will provide a significant boost for tourism which will be fantastic, not just for its pubs, but for the wider business community.

“A massive thank you to all who have been involved in the research, design and production of the leaflet, as well as the sponsors.”

The leaflet is due to be unveiled in the market square at 12.45pm today, after which the organisers will enjoy a buffet at Whitakers.