Ancient crafts on show at Moors festival

Dave Purvis is one of Britains leading coracle builders

IT is the biggest woodland event in the north, with more than 100 artisans demonstrating crafts that date back centuries.

Many of the craftspeople setting out their stall at the Guisborough Forest Festival on Sunday have given up more conventional jobs to follow their passion.

Dave Purvis is one of Britains leading coracle builders

Among them is Dave Purvis, a former plumber’s merchant from Ripon who, at 77, is one of Britain’s leading coracle builders.

The small river craft was used by Irish pirates to raid Britain in the Iron Ages and can still be found working off Ireland’s west coast.

Mr Purvis is currently constructing a 15ft Irish currach, once an ocean going design.

He said: “It’s a robust craft and it took a bit of building from larch and ash and covered with canvas.

“It was a boat used by saints and sinners. It was this kind of vessel that took St Colomba to Iona to spread Christianity.”

The festival, on the edge of the North York Moors, will also see demonstrations by Dave Stephenson, a former teacher, who is now a leading blacksmith artist, turning out hand-forged sculptures from a base in Lockton, near Pickering.

Chris Helliwell, a “bodger” who uses an age-old pole lathe to produce wooden furniture and utensils at his base near Richmond, will also be exhibiting.

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