Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

Slideshow Widget

Uffington Castle, Wayland's Smithy & Avebury, England

01 January 2011

It was decided that our first day of the new year, living in another country had to be celebrated in a big way. And since there is nothing bigger in England than walking, walk we did. The area of England where we are now is filled with ancient sites. It was time to do some exploring. The day was damp and misty which is the norm here. It is such a treat to see so many vibrant colours of green, especially in the winter.

Our first stop was to see the Uffington Castle. The mounds are the remains of an Iron Age fort (with underlying Bronze Age). The drive up to the castle site was an adventure all on its own. It was a narrow, step and very windy road. Mini Me Millie took up the whole road. I was afraid to think what would happen if we had met a car trying to come down. Then we noticed that there were indents spaced along the road for on-coming traffic to pull over and wait.

The view was incredible. I can understand why this location was chosen for a hill-top fort. The clouds were very low today and the air was full of mist. I think it added to the feeling of mystery that can only exist in a place that has seen so much history.

Just below the site of Uffington Castle is White Horse Hill. The horse dates back to the Bronze Age and is the oldest chalk figure in Britain dating back over 3,000 years. It is best seen from the Village of Uffington but with the low cloud cover today that was impossible. Below is a picture of the horse’s eye and mouth.

The views from this site are nothing short of breath-taking. There are sheep grazing freely where ever you look.

Below White Horse Hill is Dragon Hill, the site where Saint George slew the dragon. According to legend, the grass does not grow where the dragon’s blood flowed.

Below Dragon Hill is the Manger, thought to be a formation from the last Ice Age. The Manger is the feeding place for the White Horse.

Our next stop was Wayland’s Smithy. Again there were sheep everywhere and we had to drive with care. Hitting a sheep in Mini Me Millie would probably write off our tiny girl.

After the car was parked, it was a 5 km walk to the Smithy. It was beautiful walking on trails surrounded by the English countryside that were shrouded in mist.

Wayland is the Saxon god of metal working. Legend has it that you can leave your horse who has lost a shoe at the site with a coin and upon your return the horse has a new shoe and the coin is gone. In more recent times (3500BC ), the site became a Neolithic burial chamber. Once again the ever present mist added to the mysterious atmosphere of this incredible place.

Our next stop for the day was AveburyAvebury Henge is a much larger site than Stonehenge but the actual stones are smaller. It was magically to drive through Avebury on this narrow road and be able to reach out and touch one of these huge stones that were moved into place 5,000 years ago. The circle is so enormous that it surrounds the village of Avebury.

Today it seemed as if everyone we met were walking their dogs. Brittany was greatly missed and we cannot wait until she is here with us and can explore all that England has to offer. We ate supper at the Red Lion in Avebury and yes, there was a dog in there too. I love how dog friendly this country is. We had not had lunch – pubs stop serving meals at 2pm, something we are still getting used to- and were starving. The Red Lion did not disappoint. It was not until we got home and I started writing the post did I discover some of the background of The Red Lion.

May your first day of twenty eleven be filled with joy, love, laughter and adventure.

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