Mother Shipton's Walk

Use the arrows to walk along the path of
Mother Shipton and discover the park

The Petrifying Well is England's oldest visitor attraction. It was first recorded by the King's antiquary in 1538 and has been visited by millions of people since 1630.

The water has a very high mineral content, please don't drink it!

It is here that you can watch everyday objects turn to stone before your eyes. Compared with a stalactite or stalagmite, the items petrify very quickly - a small teddy bear takes around 3 -5 months. You can take a stone teddy bear home with you, they are available to buy in the museum.

The petrified items donated by celebrities and TV programmes over the years can be viewed in the museum at the far end of the park. Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Blue Peter have all made contributions. There is also a hat worn by John Wayne, and Agatha Christie's handbag. Probably the most historic and valuable item is a shoe left by Queen Mary when she visited in 1923. The museum also contains a life size figure of Mother Shipton.

In 1488 a baby was born in this cave, known then as Ursula Sontheil but in time she became known as Mother Shipton, England's most famous prophetess. After a few years living in the cave with her mother, she was taken in by a local family, after the Abbott of Beverley intervened.

However, she came back to live in the cave as an adult, to escape the stares and whispers of those who called her a witch. You can hold the hand of her statue or just take time to imagine what it must have been like to be Mother Shipton...

It is traditional for visitors to make a wish during their trip to the park. Many have been in touch to tell us their wishes have come true! There are some important rules to follow when making a wish, so please read them carefully first. You can also buy bottles of wishing well water from the gift shop to take home as a souvenir.

BLIND JACK (John Metcalfe)
Born in Knaresborough in 1717 he was blinded by smallpox at the age of six. Unhindered by his blindness, he was a very tall striking figure in his day and led a very long colourful life. As a child it was recorded he earned coppers guiding strangers to the 'Dripping Well' as it was then known and his local knowledge became so good that few people realised he was blind.