SEGA turns historic moments into cave art
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Situated in the market and spa town of Knaresborough, this 12 acre site has been open to paying visitors since 1630, where families can embark on a woodland and riverside walk. Sir Henry Slingsby’s Long Walk is described by English Heritage as “one of the best” of its kind, with unspoilt views of the old forest, which even pet dogs are welcome to explore.
But arguably the main reason why this attraction has been drawing in guests since the 17th Century is to witness the rumoured birthplace of a legendary prophetess – the namesake of the cave.
Ursula Southeil, otherwise known as Mother Shipton, is thought to have been born inside the stoney cavern during a thunderstorm in 1488.
You may have heard of her name by pubs around the UK, one of which can be found in Knaresborough itself.
Born ugly, hunchbacked and with bulged eyes, sources at the time say that Ursula was a spawn of The Devil. Her mother was a 15-year-old orphan.
Despite her appearance, the young girl gained respect and grew up to become the town’s herbalist and soon revealed she could predict the future.
Her prophecies began small about the townspeople but eventually she foresaw outcomes of one of England’s most famous monarch’s King Henry VIII – one of which being his break from the Catholic Church and creation of the Church of England.
Legend also says that waters from the pools inside the Mother Shipton’s Cave can turn objects to stone.
The cave is also known for its impressive stalactites.
These natural formations are created from the dripping water which contain minerals that gradually grow overtime, giving them that bewitched impression.
Just outside of the cave is the Petrifying Well, where visitors can view several small teddy bears that have been left to turn into a stoney form.
Don’t pass on your chance at the wishing well, a tradition by passersby for over 300 years, with several people confirming their wishes had been granted.
For historical buffs, a museum of artefacts donated by famous celebrities can be viewed including a statue of Ursual herself.
You can also buy a stone teddy bear and bottles of wishing well water from the gift shop.
With more than 65,000 visitors a year, it’s no surprise that Mother Shipton’s Cave has stood the tests of time and remained open for nearly four centuries.
Mother Shipton’s Cave and park is open every day until October 31.
During term time, entry will cost £25 per car or £8 per pedestrian weekdays or £30 per car or £10 per pedestrian weekends.
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