The Walled Garden at Hillsborough Castle has a new guard of horror this Halloween, as a parade of scarecrows takes up watch of the crops, kicking off Hillsborough’s Harvest and Halloween season.
the Scarecrow Parade is a gathering of familiar faces – scary enough to shoo away the crows – created for the Walled Garden by local schools, groups and organisations in collaboration with local artists.
Frida Kahlo, Florence Nightingale and Greta Thunberg are just some of the inspirational women that have been made into twig tributes and can be viewed by visitors for the remainder of the month, alongside Sir David Attenborough, David Bowie, Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare.
Stepping Stones NI, the Men’s Shed in Downpatrick, RNIB Belfast, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, and Beechlawn Primary, St. Aloysius Primary, Loughview Integrated Primary and Downshire Primary schools are the organisations and schools whose members and pupils have been stitching and crafting alongside artists Sue Cathcart, Shauna McGowan, Paddy Bloomer and Kelsey Carroll.
The Walled Garden team has also created a tribute to Gertrude Jekyll as a celebration of the beauty of gardening and floral artistry, while their version of Vincent Van Gogh fittingly sits amongst the last of the season’s sunflowers.
October brings a host of new outdoor activities for families to enjoy at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, with plenty of arts and crafts for visitors to get involved in too, as Public Engagement Manager Stuart Campbell explains: “Harvest is a really special time at Hillsborough Castle and this season will be the third harvest for the Walled Garden – it’s hard to believe the first crop was planted in 2018 and we are getting such abundance from it just three years later.
“We want to celebrate the harvest with our visitors and will be hosting storytelling walks through our gardens, inspired by autumn and Halloween, as well as crafting to make lanterns and their own mini scarecrows, perhaps inspired by those guarding our crops throughout October.
“For those who dare, we will also have The Wild Raven Walk and Friday Fright Night over Halloween weekend.”
The Wild Raven Walk will take families on a magical sound and light walk through the gardens over Halloween weekend (October 28, 30 and 31) where visitors can discover the spookier side to Hillsborough Castle’s 100 acres, while the Friday Fright Night (October 29) will take thrill seekers on an immersive ghost walk down darkly lit paths and crunching through forests, where characters from the castle’s past will be waiting around each corner.
Cahoots NI will also join the fun and bring Hercat the Illusionist’s famous illusions to life in the Stable Yard.
Stuart finished: “While the castle closes the doors to its spectacular interiors for the season, our gardens will come alive with the beauty of Autumn and there is so much to explore for all the family, whether that’s getting in the spooky spirit, sampling the fruits of the Walled Garden or enjoying an Autumnal dander.”
Booking is required for all activities and visits to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, including The Wild Raven Walk and Friday Fright Night via hrp.org.uk/Hillsborough-castle