September 11, 2008

High-Flying Event is on Its Way to You

ARTHUR the white-headed vulture is winging his way to one of the most popular outdoor festivals in the north.

With his 6ft wingspan and healthy appetite, Arthur promises to be a popular attraction when he swoops in to Sunday's Guisborough Forest Festival.

Now in its fifth year, the event - organised by the Forestry Commission, Redcar and Cleveland Council and the Friends of Guisborough Forest and Walkway - has become the biggest festival of its kind in northern England, with 3,000 visitors last year.

Arthur belongs to Ben Potter, 27, of Thirsk, who set up his own bird demonstration business four years ago.

Ben will also bring along some of his other 19 birds of prey, many of which have appeared on TV shows like Heartbeat and in adverts and films.

Ben said: "Arthur weighs in at 9lb, so he's a big lad. Despite his quirky appearance, he's a real charmer."

Nearly 100 exhibitors will be at Sunday's event, showing forest crafts and creating a riot of music and fun.

Sprouting through the undergrowth will also be Twiggy, Moss, Creeper, Mo-the-Lawn and Willow - fantasy forest dwellers played by acrobats from the acclaimed "Heir of Insanity" troupe.

There'll also be the chance to try bushcraft, willow weaving or circus skills, sample organic produce, make music with recycled pots and pans and meet wildlife, from honey bees to hedgehogs.

Ranger Cath Brason said: "We've assembled an amazing array of attractions to make the wood buzz with life."

Entry this year will be at the Hutton Village entrance to the wood, not Pinchinthorpe. Free car parking is available nearby at Home Farm.

There is also a free park and ride bus from Fountain Street car park on Rectory Lane, Guisborough. For more details call 01287 631132, or visit

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