Mother Shipton’s Cave and the Petrifying Well was on my agenda soon after we confirmed our trip to Harrogate. After our fun rock climbing adventure we took off to stunning Knaresborough to visit the magical place. I didn’t really know what to expect, but as soon as we got into the woods, I knew I was going to love it.
Charlie and I walked along the historic paths of Sir Henry Slingsby’s Long Walk and Beach Avenue , where the rich used to promenade in 1700. Apparently this walk is listed as one of the best preserved town promenades in the country.
The lovely walk along the river Nidd brought us to the England’s oldest visitor attraction, the Petrifying Well, previously known as the Dripping Well. Legend has it that for many centuries people believed the well had healing powers and used to bring their sick members of family to bathe in the well and drink the miraculous water.
The water comes from a lake, about a mile underground and dissolves a great amount of minerals. The water then drips down the well turning everything into the stone.
If you look closely to the picture above, there are two lumps half way up the well. These are not just lumps, but a Victorian top hat and a ladies bonnet, recorded as being left there by a young couple on their way to York races in 1853! A little commentary also mentioned that it takes about 5 months for a small teddy bear to be petrified.
Not far from the Well there is the birthplace of Mother Shipton, so called Mother Shipton’s Cave, where we listened to her life story. At the time Mother Shipton was born, people were afraid of the well, they thought if they come close, they would be turned into stone. Just to clarify, Mother Shipton was a prophetess, people believed she was a witch. If you are going there, be sure not to miss The Wishing Well, but keep in mind, there are some rules to be obeyed.
There is a sign that tells you exactly how to make a wish, dos and don’ts! So, do not wish for money or bad on anyone and your wish will come true.