Thursday, 22 September 2011

A Goth's tour of Burley

For the second part of my birthday weekend, on Sunday I headed to Burley in the New Forest with Dan and my family. Burley has always been one of my favourite places to visit - it's a quirky little village in a beautiful area. Simply driving there is a nice trip as there is a fantastic vista over much of the New Forest countryside. It isn't at all unusual to see wild New Forest ponies making their way up the main road, oblivious to the traffic and people around them.

Burley itself is a picturesque, quintessential English village with thatched cottages and plenty of places to buy a cream tea and a toasted scone, but it will be of interest to many Goths due to its unusual history, which it capitalises on today through its many themed gift shops, making it a popular tourist destination - especially for those who love all that's ooky-spooky.
Huddling in my coat! In the car park with Nan.
In the late 1950s, white witch Sybil Leek made her home in Burley. A striking figure in a swirling black cloak with her pet jackdaw upon her shoulder, she made the fellow locals somewhat anxious and her presence drew much attention to the sleepy little village. Eventually she decamped to America, but her legacy remains strong in Burley.

The village's main gift shop, Coven of Witches, was named by Sybil. On the outside walls, metal decals of witches in flight glint in the sunshine, and inside, you'd better duck, because hanging from the ceiling are dozens upon dozens of little witch figures on broomsticks.
Coven of Witches sells everything the visiting Gothling could dream of, from beautifully detailed witch's cottage lamps that light up from inside to the artwork of Anne Stokes, faerie and witch ornaments of every size and description, clothing from brands such as Dark Star and Iron Fist, books on every aspect of Paganism, Wicca and the occult, stunning jewellery, and all kinds of wonderful gifts such as the bat plushie that sits on my bed, and soft toy ravens that caw when you squeeze them.

And Coven is far from the only Goth-worthy gift shop in this tiny village. Be sure to check out Witchcraft and The Sorcerer's Apprentice for more Wiccan and witchcraft paraphernalia and themed gifts, WizzyDora's for all kinds of eccentric and unique gifware, The Old Shed for T-shirts and tops from the likes of The Mountain, and many of the other gift shops sell items such as incense with scents like Poison and Midnight, or collectible, Goth-friendly ranges such as BEGoths, Living Dead Dolls and Scary Fairies.
Enjoying an ice cream in the Burley Stores Cafe
Those who enjoy activities with an air of quaintness might like to visit in summer, so that they can pop up their parasols and pick strawberries in the pick-your-own fields or indulge in a wagonette ride around the village.

Halloween is, of course, the perfect time to visit - Burley 'does' Halloween the traditional way, with fancy dress competitions, apple bobbing, Tarot readings and a parade through the village.
My Burley purchases


Nightwind said...

Judging from these photos and your description, Burley appears to be a wonderful place to visit. I have long wanted to visit the U.K. and I always tell my friends that if I ever get the opportunity, I would much prefer the smaller villages as opposed to, let's say, London. This article and your photos tell me that I'm on to something.

Fatally Yours said...

Sounds absolutely lovely!

Ms. Lou said...

Thus looks like a great place. I will keep this in mind next time I come to visit England!

Naomi said...

I love your purple faux fur jacket :D Where did you get it?

Becci F.S said...

I was in burley today and I remembered your post and thought I'd comment. Burley is the most amazing little town, with amazing stores, and ponies wandering around loose. I got a beautiful carved wooden jewellery box for £4.99, and a mug that says "witches brew" with a sleepy looking gothy witch girl on it. The people who live there are all very friendly and goth friendly. Well worth a visit.

plastic planters said...

Wonderful pictures! Thank you for sharing this amazing piece of work with us!!

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