Mother Shipton was born in 1488, in a cave on the banks of the River Nidd, and grew up around Knaresborough. She was a strange child, both in looks and in nature. Her nose was large and crooked, her back bent and her legs twisted. Just like a witch. As she grew older, her prophecies became known throughout England. She foretold the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. She made her living telling the future and warning those who asked of what was to come.
Beside Mother Shipton’s cave is the famous Petrifying Well, a unique geological phenomenon. Over hundreds of years curiosity has drawn millions of visitors to the well to see cascading water turn everyday objects to stone – as if by magic.
The park is a unique, unspoilt remnant of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough. The estate was sold by King Charles I in 1630 to a local gentleman, Sir Charles Slingsby; his family landscaped and created the park and the pathways visitors walk along today.
During a visit it is an old tradition to make a wish. The Wishing Well is fed by the same magical waters as the Petrifying Well and has been wished upon for over 300 years. Many visitors have been in touch to tell us their wishes have come true!
Visitors from all over the world have been enchanted by the park’s natural beauty, mesmerised by the Petrifying Well and fascinated by Mother Shipton’s story. The park has several scenic picnic areas, an adventure playground and museum and gift shop. Dogs are welcome in all areas, apart from the playground, and must be kept on a lead.