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Folklore, Witchcraft, Traditions

Winter 2023


‘At sundown, the great black hulk of the moor rises up and in its shadows lurk ghosts of long-abandoned cottages, hobs (fairies) and fearsome witches …’

THE North York Moors and surrounding hills, dales and coast are rich in folklore, legend and tradition. Stories passed down and elaborated over generations in the collective imagination often hold sprinklings of truth and fascinating glimpses into past lives. They offer insights into the thoughts, rituals and fears of our ancestors.


This community presentation of collected stories of the area offers new perspectives and plenty of surprises. The ‘witches of Blackamoor’ (an archaic name for an approximation of today’s North York Moors) are connected with real people working within an ancient magical belief system, providing herbal and magical remedies for the village communities of the past. The stories of magical creatures known as hobs provide imaginative explanations for otherwise perplexing events and life’s ups and downs.

Contributors reflecting on local traditions highlight those still going strong, including the annual moorland burning of the heather, the Goathland Plough Stots’ longsword dancing, Whitby’s ceremony of the Penny Hedge and the pigeon fancying of East Cleveland. Others recall lost traditions such as Beating the Bounds and the Loftus Wool Fair. Some point to new traditions – the Skinningrove Bonfire and Whitby’s Krampus Run.


Surprising stories from the natural world include the discovery of a Yorkshire rarity – the Pine marten; salmon poaching in Glaisdale beck; and the adoption of abandoned owl chicks by a Tawny Owl called Luna.


Literature trends and a new Gothic climate are highlighted along with local books and authors, a story-telling competition, drama, events, festivals, puzzles and local news, making this a jam-packed issue with much to enjoy on a cold winter’s night.

Folklore, Witchcraft, Traditions

164 pages | full colour

£ 3 (digital)

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