YP Letters: Woods that were the making of young artist

From: Michael Hildred, York.
james Hardisty's image of Stutton woods near Tadcaster.james Hardisty's image of Stutton woods near Tadcaster.
james Hardisty's image of Stutton woods near Tadcaster.

I WANT to congratulate James Hardisty on his lovely image of Stutton woods near Tadcaster (The Yorkshire Post, January 16), and Grace Hammond for the accompanying piece.

As a boy, my parents moved to the Stutton side of Tadcaster, after living through the searingly cold winter and devastating floods of 1947 in Selby.

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Stutton was a short walk with the dog through the fields beside the railway line, and the willow beds were a favourite place for me and the local boys to play, and stage mock battles beside the stream and in the woods – Robin Hood against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

On solitary walks I became very observant quite naturally; eager to note duck and heron and moorhen beside the stream and the sound and sight of water vole plopping into the water. I knew a place where hazel nuts grew and a bank higher up where the only cluster of primroses could be found, year on year.

This all rubbed off on me emotionally in ways that were unsettling for my parents.

They saw me as a dreamer, not properly focussed on the serious business of passing exams. In retrospect, they were wrong. I gained a place at Leeds College of Art, qualified in Fine Art Painting and spent a hugely rewarding 30 years moving up the ladder in art education.