19 September 1997


ONCE a year Kettlewell in Yorkshires Upper Wharfedale becomes populated by scarecrows. Scores of them pop up in the streets, gardens, doorways, along the stream and in odd corners and open spaces.

Its Scarecrow Festival Time, a nine-day village event started four years ago and now proving hugely popular. Kettlewell is in a predominantly farming area and the assorted, colourful figures fit in with other country traditions. But they have come a long way since simple structures were hastily erected in fields and gardens to keep pigeons and crows away.

Kettlewells scarecrows have an elegance and style all of their own.

The object is to raise money for the village school, whose 35 pupils are drawn from a wide area. Visitors are charged £1 for parking and a copy of the Scarecrow Trail map. This year the festival raised more than £6000 and the money is earmarked for a new computer system and library improvements.

So far this simple idea, which also brings lots of trade to local pubs and shops, has contributed £15,000 to the school. A spokesman for the organisers said the scarecrows could only get better. He estimated that almost 200 had been made this summer and a large slice of the village had taken part.

Tom Montgomery

You never know who is about during Kettlewells nine day fund-raising. There is an influx of visitors and strange characters may be found sitting on loft steps (above) or caught skipping across lawns (far right).