Mother Shipton’s Cave

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Are you looking for a tourist attraction that goes above and beyond anything you’ve ever experienced? If so, Mother Shipton’s Cave is an absolute must-visit, as this is the place where the water is able to turn objects into stone, as the story goes. And it’s not just the story of Mother Shipton’s Cave that draws people here, it’s also the fact that it is located next to the Petrifying Well, which happens to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the UK.

Photo by Daniel Easton

There are stories of witchcraft and magic that surround this destination, making it alluring and mysterious, all of which can be explained through a natural phenomenon.

Located within the Royal Forest of Knaresborough

In order to find Mother Shipton’s Cave, you’ll need to head to the Royal Forest of Knaresborough (North Yorkshire, England), which is known for its unspoiled beauty. Every direction you look you will be greeted by dense greenery, the sounds of nature, and that relaxing atmosphere that is only possible when you step outside your daily life. It’s an outdoor adventure that every member of the family can enjoy, even the four-legged ones – dogs. Just keep in mind that dogs need to be on their lead at all times.

The Story of the Cave

The cave itself is one of the biggest attractions here thanks to the story that surrounds it. It is said that in the year 1488, a baby was born in the cave by the name of Ursula Sontheil. As she grew older, she was then called Mother Shipton. While she lived in the cave for quite some time with her mother, eventually she was taken in by a family in the Knaresborough region.

Mother Shipton went on to become a prophetess and soothsayer until the year she died in 1561, and she continued to return to the cave on a regular basis.

The Allure of the Petrifying Well

Next to the cave is the Petrifying Well, which as mentioned is one of the older tourist attractions in all of England. While some like to consider it witchcraft and a true mystery, there is scientific reasoning behind it. Records of the Well date back to 1538 and is said to turn objects into stone in a very fast manner. Something as simple as a teddy bear can petrify in just three to five months.

It was also said that the water in the well has healing powers. People believed that by drinking the water it would cure any ailment they had. Be sure to also make a wish at the Wishing Well. The water within the well is fed from the Petrifying Well, so again there are stories of magic and witchcraft that surround it.

If you’re curious as to the scientific reasoning behind this phenomenon, it traces back to the fact the well contains high amounts of carbonate and sulphate, which speed up the petrification process.

Get a Taste of the Mystery for Yourself

So, if you’re looking for a tour that is a bit outside the box, and filled with mystery and stories, Mother Shipton’s Cave could be the ideal place to visit.

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