Designing the Wickerman
...and other creative projects I worked on at Butser Ancient Farm
If you’ve been following me for any length of time you’ll have heard me mention Butser Ancient Farm. I worked there for three years before going freelance in 2018, as well as volunteering there since I was about 12. It’s a magical, mystical, calming place - an open-air museum in Hampshire showcasing Stone Age to Saxon buildings, rare breed animals and ancient skills and crafts. It is also a place that recognises the Wheel of the Year and celebrates a few of the sabbats, particularly Samhain, Yule, Imbolc and Beltane. The last of these marks the farm’s biggest event of the year, during which a 30ft wicker man is burnt to the ground as an offering in the hope that it might lead to a fertile summer and abundant harvest. If you’re interested in learning more about the wicker man tradition (and whether or not people were really sacrificed inside), I’ve written a chapter about it in my book Dark Skies: A Journey into the Wild Night (Bloomsbury, 2019).