The year 2021 marked the 50-year anniversary since principal filming began on the seminal movie, The Wicker Man, a celluloid picture that would go on to help define a genre known as folk horror. Actor and screenwriter Mark Gatiss popularized this genre that often incorporated themes of worship, seclusion, the influence of the environment, and the hidden immorality of agricultural settings.
The film stars Sir Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle, the fictional ruler of a Scottish island that is visited by Sergeant Howie, portrayed by Edward Woodward who is searching for a missing girl. Many of the motion picture’s locations were shot in and around the western province of Dumfries and Galloway. This included the film’s climactic ending, which took place along the coastline near the camping site of Burrowhead Holiday Village.
Without divulging the movie’s harrowing conclusion, it involves the burning of a wooden effigy of a human, that is purported to have pagan or druid-like origins. The production company shot two different sculptures for the film. One was shot in miniature format to incorporate the setting sun, and another for the actors to interact around. Both charred remains can be found with a little sleuthing and perseverance.
Know Before You Go
Burrowhead Holiday Village provides public parking and there is a map to help locate one set of the stumps. This pair is set in concrete and includes the initials "R C 1971," and is located close to the cliff's edge. The larger of the two remains is a bit more difficult to locate, but searching around nearby, one will find two sets of holes that were dug to insert the wicker man's legs.
Wear sensible footwear, as the area is uneven and can get quite muddy. There are several walking trails you can take to admire the beautiful coastline.
Please refrain from chipping away any souvenirs, so that other adventurers will be able to admire this bit of cinematic history.