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Top 10 legendary locations to discover in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean
Stunning landscapes, ancient monuments, and unique natural features have inspired storytellers for thousands of years and this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is steeped in thrilling tales of legendary figures and mythical creatures.
http://www.deanwyelegends.co.uk showcases this mythical tradition. As an area that spans the border of England and Wales, across three counties, it boasts an eclectic mix of legends for visitors to explore.
Sitting on the often fluid border between England and Wales has also placed us at the centre of historical events with archers that were instrumental to England’s victory at Agincourt coming from Henry V’s birthplace of Monmouth and the surrounding villages.
Step into a mythical world which has inspired legends such as J R R Tolkien, J K Rowling and J J Abrams and discover the real-life magic of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean.
King Arthur’s Cave – Doward
Legend says that a giant human skeleton was discovered in King Arthur’s Cave on the Doward in the 1700s. The cave is shrouded in local superstition and many bones of exotic and extinct animals have also been excavated from the site.
The ghost of Isobel Chandos – Hereford Castle
Isobel Chandos was the daughter of the Governor of Hereford Castle and fell in love with King Edward II’s favourite, Hugh Despenser. After her true love’s death, she left in a small boat which capsized and she unfortunately drowned. Her spirit is said to still sail along the River and the apparition is said to bring ill fortune to those who see it.
Harold’s Stones – Trellech
Legend has it that three of Harold’s Chieftains died during a battle in Trellech, hence the three stones standing tall. However these standing stones actually date back 3,500 years to the Bronze Age.
The Otter Hole – Wales/England border
The entrance to the Otter Hole was discovered by local electrician George Gardiner in 1970 whilst he was searching for Shakespeare’s last manuscripts which according to legend were buried beside the River Wye. The Otter Hole is known as one of the best decorated caves in Britain and is located on the Wales – England border.
Littledean Hall – Littledean
Littledean Hall is a country house in the village of Littledean. It is reputedly one of the most haunted houses in England. It is known for its phantom blood stains in the dining room and a ghost of the manservant to Charles Pyrke of Littledean Hall, from the 18th Century. The manservant haunts the 1st floor landing with a candle in his hand and if white flowers are set out in the dining room they are later found strewn across the floor.
Bleeding Stone – Staunton
The Staunton Longstone is a Bronze Age standing stone that stands at seven feet tall. Local folklore says that the stone will bleed if it’s pricked with a pin at precisely midnight.
The last Witch of Gloucestershire? – Littledean
A Cinderford wise woman, Ellen Hayward was the last person charged with Witchcraft in Gloucestershire. She was tried at Littledean Jail in 1906.
The Beast of Dean – Forest of Dean
There have been many, historical and contemporary, reports of mysterious creatures living in the woods especially around Parkend. One notable example is the ‘The Beast of Dean’ which was also given the name ‘Moose-Pig’. Long before reintroduction of wild boar in the area, an animal said to resemble a boar but large enough to crush hedges and make trees fall lurked in the depths of the woods.
The Devil’s Pulpit – Tintern
The Devil’s Pulpit is a rocky viewpoint which overlooks the 13th Century Tintern Abbey. Local myth states that the Devil created the Pulpit to preach to the Monks of Tintern, in the hopes that he could tempt them away from their religious ways.
Lydney Park Roman Temple Curse – Lydney
One of the artefacts found at the Lydney Park Roman Temple Site was a cursed tablet. The tablet read ” o the God Nodens. Silvanus has lost a ring. He has [vowed] half its value to Nodens. Amongst all who bear the name of Senicianus, refuse thou to grant health to exist, until he bring back the ring to the Temple of Nodens.” Extraordinarily, the exact ring was found in a farmer’s field in Hampshire. The ring itself is now housed in The Vyne Museum, it also lives with Tolkien memorabilia and the question remains as to whether or not the ancient ring might have been the very one that inspired J.R.R Tolkien.