The Spirit of Skipton Castle Woods Book

Client: The National Trust

The children climbed out from the cave and returned to the woodland path. The path widened and the children were scared of what they might find next. Tall trees hung overhead, making the woods dark and damp. Their leaves shook and rustled as they received the message from the listening beech tree further up the wood. Welcoming the children, the trees opened their branches to let in the sunshine, warming up the children and lighting the path ahead.

Suddenly, a loud cackling voice spilled out from the tree tops. Whoosh! Bang! A muddy-brown shadow zipped down the trunk of a wych-elm tree. A spiky-nosed, rotten, ragged witch on a creaking broomstick appeared in front of them. Grabbing Joe by the arm, she whizzed him straight back up the tree that she had come down. Peals of horrible laughter filled the forest as she went.

Rosie and Robin fell to the floor feeling hopeless and sad.

The troublesome witch flew back to her rickety treehouse at the top of a dying oak. She parked up her broomstick, which she called Bedknob, in front of her big bubbling cauldron. Joe tried not to cry.

Pushing him off her stick, Terwickety locked Joe in a hole inside the treehouse trunk and sealed it with hazel sticks. Then she got busy finishing off her magic brew, adding hairy bittercress and spicy toothwort to the stinking pot.


Clifford & the Mysterious Egg Story Trail

Client: Cliffe Castle Park & Museum

Mr Butterfield and his family had arrived. Clifford’s life would never be the same again.

Many years passed. Clifford saw the hall transformed into a fairy-tale castle with fancy turrets, tall towers and glamorous glasshouses.  The Mill-owner’s fortune had made him king of his castle which he shared with his workers. 

Clifford’s family’s measly breadcrumbs were soon replaced by fine morsels of fillet steak. Old Boot was exchanged for an unused gem-encrusted Jewellery Box.

With no need for anything, Clifford sought adventure and excitement. He travelled with Mr Butterfield, in his suitcase.  Now, it was on one of these trips to a land called Poland that Clifford found himself sharing the homeward trip with a rather large oval object. Clifford’s grandpa later explained that the strange object was called ‘Egg’. Grandpa had seen one once when he had visited Outside, a place he rarely went as it was rumoured to be full of danger. 

Grandpa told the children that when Egg was heated up, it would transform into a small flying creature.   Clifford, excited by this myth, decided to hunt for Egg. He found it whilst rummaging around in the bottom of Mr Butterfield’s wardrobe.


‘Yes!’ squeaked Clifford with excitement, as he carried Egg back to Jewellery Box.

‘That belongs Outside. Put it back where you found it,’ Grandpa ordered angrily.


Rhinoceros Vase & the Changed Pattern Activity Trail 

Another girl was painting ornate flowers on a white tea cup.

“This is going to be one of 200 pieces” remarked the girl.  She smiled proudly at the finished design. 

“Come here, you have a go” she said, handing a paintbrush and tea cup to Lottie. 

She had never used a paint brush before but had learnt to sew and knit at Sunday school.  Watching the older girl, Lottie followed what she did.   By 6 p.m. her hand was aching and her eyes were tired. 

Nearly a year passed and Lottie had become quite an artist. She loved to paint grand designs of flowers, landscapes and scenes from well-known stories. Her younger brother Edward had got a job working at the pottery too, fetching and carrying heavy clay pieces for a potter.

Everyone was talking about the Rhinoceros Vase, a new piece and one of a pair, which sat majestically in the centre of the room with wildflowers painted on its sides. Every day a little more gold gilt and decoration was added by the master painter, Mr. Brameld. Lottie was desperate to just touch it, hold it even.

Then one day, when everyone had gone home and Lottie and Edward were left sweeping the floor, she just couldn’t help herself.  Reaching out, Lottie lifted the vase off of its special stand. At the same moment, a faint tapping sound could be heard, like a small beak pecking its way out of the shell of a delicate egg.  As Lottie began to panic, a piece of the vase cracked and fell to the floor breaking into 6 pieces.

The sound grew louder and louder and within a few moments a mysterious creature had filled the room.  Its head and feet were the claws of an eagle and its body that of lion. Large wings perched on its back waiting to take flight.  As Lottie and Edward stood frozen with fear, the creature gobbled up the broken pieces as if they were scraps of food and flew out of the open doorway! Letting out muffled screams, the children ran out after the creature.

They searched the grounds looking for the broken pieces but none could be found.  The creature had disappeared.


Janet Queen of the Fairies Storytelling Trail

Client: The National Trust

The water stirred, bubbled and gurgled and then fell silent.  The woods stood still, a golden mist hovered above the water’s surface, sparkles of white light danced and flashed.  Suddenly, the waters swirled, whirled and rippled outwards.  From its centre a translucent nose, head, neck, body and legs emerged. A huge magnificent watery figure appeared. Janet’s water horse Peacefulness had arrived. The horse filled the space between earth and magic and the world bowed down in his presence.

“Fly and find the ogre whose mind is upset and unkind,” Janet’s voice rang out across the Foss.

Peacefulness galloped silently and swiftly along the surface of the waters to the end of the beck and then out towards the village.  The splash of his hooves formed beautiful crystals that danced along the surface of the water as he went.

Siegfred the Ogre had not slept for three days and three nights and he was still blowing a raging gale storming through the village and up the valley. 

The villagers were scared and were hiding in their houses when Peacefulness arrived at the top of the main street.  There in front of the horse stood Siegfred who was ripping at the roof of a small house with his great ogre hands.  He was roaring with anger.

Peacefulness gently but silently dropped his head and galloped silently and gently towards the raging ogre. His toes through to the top of Siegfred’s head immediately turned a pale rose colour, light radiated from inside him as the Ogre lit up like a glorious pink Christmas tree.