Wayland's Smithy

Wayland's Smithy

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Where it all began

From its Neolithic origins over 5000 years ago, the site has lived for so long that myths and legends couldn’t help but become attached to the place.

But usually, it’s just the one tale here or there, of heroism or gods coming to earth for a little while – well, not at Wayland’s Smithy.

First, however, let’s get there shall we?

There’s a car park located at White Horse Hill, and from there it’s just over a mile walk to Wayland’s Smithy.

The walk alone is worth heading out on an adventure for. The Oxfordshire landscape sweeps around you in all directions, spanning away to the edge of the horizon.

Back to the stories

Now, back to the myths.

Where do we start? The Norse god who flew over from Scandinavia? Or how about Wayland the Smith, lord of the elves?

No, we thought we’d best start with the Arthurian legend.

It’s said that Wayland the Smith forged a sword for the wizard Merlin, potentially even the famous Excalibur that Arthur would go on to wield.

But that’s not where the old English myths stop.

Just over the way near the White Horse, legend has it the mound of earth known as Dragon Hill was the location where the patriot saint of England, St George, slayed the fire-breathing beast.

The bare patch of earth on top of the hill? Well apparently, the dragon’s blood was so poisonous that the land it flowed upon died instantly, forever to be devoid of any life.

The expedition begins!

And all that comes before you’ve even seen the place for yourself!

When you finally arrive, all those stories get left behind for a moment. 

At the southern end of the mound, the standing stones guard the entranceway into the burial chamber like knights.

It stretches quite a way back, wrapped in a boundary of sandstone at its base. Simply stroll around it absorbing the ancient atmosphere which seems to have settled over the area like a snug blanket.

The lives of Wayland’s Smithy

The history of the place compels you to look at the world differently for a moment, through the eyes of people living long ago.

Listen closely and you might hear the faint echoes of hammers pummelling metal – or further still and you might just catch the final fire-breathing roar of a scaly dragon.

There aren’t many adventures like that nowadays, are there?

Whatever you discover, one thing’s for certain – a trip to Wayland’s Smithy is bound to leave you filled with intrigue and curiosity no matter how many times you pay a visit.

Knighton Hill,

Paid parking