Folklore: Wood Bottom Black Dog

A short account of the Ghost of a large black dog seen on Burton Wood Bottom.

The late Wilf Allison was the local gamekeeper on Normanby Estate for many years. He apparently had heard of the ghost of the black dog but did not really believe it until one evening in the local pub.

One of Wilf’s jobs as a gamekeeper was ensure there was no poaching on the estate. This was a part of the job he took seriously and was often out late at night hoping to catch poachers red handed. One night he had decided to patrol Burton Wood Bottom as Burton wood at that time was a favourite poaching hot spot. Walking along the track flanking the wood, it was not long before he had found what he was looking for. Parked just inside the wood was an old van, back doors open but empty. Knowing the poachers could not be too far away as one of the rearing pens was also less than 100 yards away, Wilf decided he would cause a stir. Rattling on the side of the van with his stick, he shouted “Whaddya think you’re doing! ‘Av caught Ya!”

What happened next Wilf recalled he would remember for the rest of his days.

It was often the case that poachers he caught were local and known to Wilf and usually nothing more than cross words would be exchanged and they would be on their way. This time was different. Looming from the dark of the wood were 4 large men he did not recognise. They were clearly not happy to be caught and Wilf began to fear for his life. Then suddenly their faces turned to fear and without another word they were in their van and off. Baffled and Stunned but very relieved, Wilf carried on his patrol.

A couple of weeks later in the local pub, an acquaintance asked Wilf how that new dog of his was and puzzled, he explained he had not got a new dog?

The acquaintance then went on to recount how he had heard of some poachers “from over Brigg way” had got caught by the gamekeeper in Burton wood and they were going to give him ‘a sorting out’ but did not fancy their chances against the big black dog stood by his side. It was “The most vicious thing they had ever seen!”

Wilf went cold as he recalled the night in question and the fact he had no dog with him and did not even see a dog.