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The Huntress of Skipton Castle Woods

The Incredible Willow Sculpture of Anna Cross

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 3 years ago Updated 13 days ago 3 min read
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Me and The Huntress of Skipton Castle Woods

Many years ago I was holidaying in Orton, Cumbria, most famous for its Chocolate Factory (Kennedy’s of Orton). I had web access and an American friend shared a stunning image on Facebook.

It was The Huntress of Skipton Castle Woods and I looked at it and saw it was UK-based and in fact only seventy miles from where I was. I am not a fan of driving but that image really drew me in, and I decided to drive to Skipton.

I got there and parked in the Castle car park, and then went into the woods to find this stunning willow sculpture. On research I discovered it was by Yorkshire Willow artist Anna Cross and you can see how it was made here.

I followed the path through the woods and it was a lovely walk but I started wondering whether I would see this sculpture or whether it was a temporary exhibit that I had just missed. I then came upon a willow horse sculpture which was a second work by Anna Cross, so I started to believe that I might be on the right trail. I followed the path and at the town entrance near Skipton castle there she was in all her glory.

I probably took photographs and they will be in my nine thousand Instagram shots but I will have to really dig to find them.

I realised that I was going to be drawn back here, and this set a change in my holiday methodology. I realised that I could stay in Settle, which I can reach easily by train, and Skipton is a few stops down the railway line, and once there The Huntress of Skipton Castle Woods is a fifteen-minute walk from the station.

If you go on Instagram and search for the tag #thehuntressofskiptoncastlewoods you will find my posts, the most recent with commentary on my walk through the woods with the gorgeous autumn leaves on the ground.

It’s now almost like a pilgrimage for me, though I am not religious at all, but it really does inspire me and make me feel totally humbled.

It says to me strength, care, resilience, leadership and inspiration. There is nothing else that does that for me, and it is probably just me that feels like that, but I can sort of see how religions get founded on situations like this, but I’m not going that far, well I hope I don’t. The Huntress does remind me of certain people who are close to me and I suppose that is another thing that keeps drawing me back to her.

There is this quote on Anna Cross’s website.

“If there were ever a life that blended the heart of an animal lover and the eye of an artist, this must be it”

And that is a perfect encapsulation of her amazing work.

I have probably visited The Huntress of Skipton Castle Woods about six times now and each time I come away amazed and inspired. Sometimes you visit sites and works of art and once is enough, because you have done it. This has a double edge for me, it is accessible and I am continually drawn back to it.

I suppose part of it is the natural feel of a supernatural image of a spirit of nature, with a possibly pagan feel, but it not only impresses me, it impresses everyone who sees and comes into contact with it.

If you are ever in the vicinity this has to be something that you have to come and see, and I guarantee you will leave impressed and inspired.

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Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

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Comments (10)

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  • Mother Combs13 days ago

    Amazing art

  • John Cox5 months ago

    Wonderful story, Mike. I love the huntress. She really is beautiful. It reminds me of the Willow chapter in Roger Deakin's last book, 'Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees.' He travels to Brian White's withy beds at Kingsbury Episcopi in Somerset, where he and Brian Lock harvest stems manually with billhooks for basket weaving.

  • Dana Stewart10 months ago

    I definitely want to see The Huntress with my own eyes. Incredible piece of art, the house too.

  • I do believe I'd be doing the same, Mike. It seems a very worthwhile pilgrimage.

  • Thanks for writing this I had never heard of Anna Cross or the Huntress. The video was the best part gave a real perspective to it. Enjoyed the article from beginning to end

  • Ruth Stewart10 months ago

    I have family in Blackburn, not far from here. It looks well worth a visit, I love the horse. Thanks for bringing it to light!

  • Mariann Carroll11 months ago

    I sign in on Facebook, to read this . Thank you for the video as well. I love how you share your adventure walks in your country. It feels like watching a movie at the same time. Great artwork talent for sure 🥰🥰🥰🥰

  • Fantastic. Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading it and the video is a wonderful extra added touch

  • C. H. Richard2 years ago

    She is quite beautiful and I love that she is made from natural elements rather than plaster and copper as statues are made. I also love your video of the waterfall. Can feel the peace it brings

  • KJ Aartila2 years ago

    That does sound spectacular! And worth the trip. :) Thank you for sharing it!

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