A Wiltshire wildlife artist is planning to give away a 'significant clue' to help people to solve a three-year treasure hunt mystery.

The literary treasure hunt, The Hare on the Moon, passed through its two-year deadline in November last year without a winner.

Now Joanna May, the Devizes-based wildlife artist behind the project, hopes that by giving away a significant clue, the mystery can be solved before the end of the year.

The artist and conservationist launched The Hare on the Moon, a very special treasure hunt book, in November 2019, with a unique golden hare painting worth £15,000 as the prize for the winner.

So far, she has received more than 500 entries from people who believed they had cracked the code, yet with all being unsuccessful to date, the hunt continues.

Joanna, 57, said: “The Hare on the Moon project was ten years in the making and is a love letter to the beautiful county of Wiltshire which plays host to the second largest population of hares in the UK.

“The book, inspired by Kit Williams’ classic Masquerade, is a truly unique treasure hunt based around my hare paintings - and I genuinely believed it would have been solved by now!

“The winner will be the first person who can successfully unlock the right coordinates and words to a final destination; awaiting them will be a unique painting of the Celtic symbol of three interlinking hares made with gold leaf.”

The beautifully-illustrated puzzle, which took Joanna two years to create, takes readers through a series of hare paintings based upon the zodiac and spiritual landmarks in Wiltshire.

The puzzle encourages ‘treasure hunters’ to comb the countryside to find the map coordinates and a combination of words to unlock the prize: a sought-after, one-off gold leaf painting by Miss May that has been valued at £15,000 by experts.

Since its launch, the free-to-enter competition has received entries from across the UK, Europe and the USA, all working towards cracking the code before the initial closing date of November 21 2021.

However, with the mystery still unsolved, Joanna has announced she will be giving away a significant clue on Saturday, November 19.

She is staging a special event at her gallery in Northgate Street from 10am to 5pm to celebrate three years of The Hare on the Moon.

The Hare on the Moon tells the story of a Wiltshire hare who gives her life for a stranger. In return she becomes the hare on the moon; in order to return to Earth she has to undertake a series of tasks.

Each task unlocks the key to the next one and her final destination will lead to the code breaker to the treasure – and the hare back to Wiltshire.

To take part, fans must follow the clues in the book, which is filled with hare illustrations and packed with symbolism, clues and words to guide the way.

The book includes a host of familiar Wiltshire locations such as Stonehenge, Silbury Hill, Avebury, Marlborough, Salisbury and Salisbury.

Joanna added: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that’s been shown for the book since its launch and the huge amount of entries that have been received from around the world so far - yet the winner’s still out there somewhere!

“I know that there are some serious treasure hunters on the case, determined to win the prize before the end of this year. The treasure hunt will now continue indefinitely until the first successful entry is made.”

The Hare on The Moon is available online (£29.99 hardback / £59.99 limited edition copy).

To find out more click here.