Last month we were out for a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive in the New Forest National Park. Although the area is familiar territory to us, we managed to get a little bit lost after taking a wrong turn down a narrow country lane. Unfortunately, going ‘off piste’ in the middle of a National Park is never a good idea, petrol stations are few and far between. Eventually we found civilisation and a garage, which was situated on the edge of the lovely little village of Bisterne. Bisterne also happened to be hosting its Annual Scarecrow Festival. Verges, greens and front gardens were strewn with tableaux vivants made-up of assorted straw/papier mâché figures wearing clothing sourced from attic trunks. Here are a selection of my photos from this year’s entrants.
The Festival began in 2002 and has gone from strength to strength with visitors coming from far and wide to experience the quirky happening. This year the event ran from the 21st August until the 4th September. All proceeds from entrants’ fees and collection buckets are put to good use in the local community. Proceeds are also put towards the restoration and upkeep of the Village Hall.
In Britain during the Middle Ages children were often employed to chase crows away from the farmer’s crops. They would charge around the field banging blocks of wood together. In 1348 the Black Death swept across Europe decimating the population and consequently the number of children dwindled dramatically. Enterprising farmers came-up with an alternative, they stuffed clothes with straw, used a turnip for a head and positioned these rudimentary ‘crowscarers’ in their crop fields. This proved a highly successful solution.