Saturday, 14 February 2009
I walked along the Ridgeway, where the winter sun was melting the snow. I like the satisfying crunch it makes underfoot. When I arrived at Waylands Smithy, the snow appeared completely untouched apart from a row of deer hoof prints. The sunlight gave the snow a slight bluish tinge.
What makes Waylands Smithy so atmospheric, is the way it is so secluded and surrounded by beech trees. it is best seen on a sunny autumn day when the dappled sunlight plays on the stones.
The legend attached to the Waylands Smith, is that if you leave a penny on the stones the ghostly blacksmith will shod your horse.
Walking back along the Ridgeway, towards Ashbury Hill, I was amazed how much snow there is still in the fields and hills even though it seems to have melted everywhere else.
" '- here are we at Wayland Smith's forge-door.'
'You jest, my little friend,' said Tressilian; 'there is nothing but a bare moor, and that ring of stones, with a great one in the midst , like a Cornish barrow.' 'Why,' said Dickie, with a grin, 'you must tie your horse to that upright stone that has the ring in't, and then you must whistle three times, and lay me down your silver groat on that other flat stone, walk out of the circle, sit down on the west side of that little thicket of bushes, and take heed you look neither to right nor left for ten minutes, or so long as you shall hear the hammer clink, and whenever it ceases, say your prayers for the space you could tell a hundred, or count over a hundred, which will do as well, - and then come into the circle; you will find your money gone and your horse shod.' "
Sir Walter Scott, Kenilworth.