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Legends and Stories in Welsh Border Cycling Holidays

The Welsh Borders are full of stories and legends. Here are a few you can visit on our cycling and walking holidays

Dragons in the Radnor forest

Dragon in Presteigne on Welsh Borders cycling holiday

According to a legend, the local people built four churches in a circle around the Radnor Forest in order to contain the last dragon in Wales, who lay sleeping in the area. The churches, at Llanfihangel Cefnllys, Llanfihangel Rhydithon (Dolau), Llanfihangel Nant Melan and Llanfihangel Cascob, were all dedicated to St Michael (Welsh: Mihangel) victor over the dragon. Some people believed that the dragon would awaken if any of the four churches were destroyed Visit on the Welsh Border Cycle Tour

The Mortimer Trail at Aymestrey

Mortimer Trail walking holiday Croft Ambrey

Poke house wood on Mortimer Trail walking holiday

"Everyone loves a good ghost story, so I’m glad to say we have a haunted wood, Pokehouse Wood. The word ‘poke’ originates from Puck, one of the many old English words for fairy.

So notorious was Pokehouse Wood in days gone by - for the spirits led travellers astray - that a local man donated a parcel of land to finance a stipend to pay a man to ring the bell at Aymestrey Church for an hour at sunset in order to guide travellers down the hill and across the river to safety. In Aymestrey you can still see the hole in the bell tower fashioned, especially to allow the bell ropes to be pulled from the church’s porch. Whether you believe the folklore or are a sceptic, it’s a great story, and myths and legends add so much to our experience of the landscape.

Another local woodland called Slaughterhouse Covert, commemorates the massacre of the Lancastrian forces defeated at The Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, (1461). After fleeing the battlefield along the Covenhope Valley, they were caught by Yorkists and locals with a strong dislike for the Welsh descended Lancastrians." thanks to the wonderful Riverside Inn at Aymestrey, one of your overnight stops on the Mortimer Trail - great food & welcome

Riverside Inn Aymestrey on mortimer Trail walking holiday

The Radnor Valley - Standing stones and Ley lines

Radnor Valley on cycling holiday in wales

Explore this area on our Herefordshire Gardens Cycle tour (its a good reason to explore whilst visiting Whimble Gardens)

"The Radnor Valley is rich in wildlife and wildflowers and has an exceptional wealth of historical and prehistoric features, dating back to the earliest times. This is the heartland of the book The Old Straight Trackby Alfred Watkins. It was he who first proposed the theories of Ley-lines from observations garnered whilst delivering beer in Radnor and Herefordshire. The most important ley-lines appear to emanate from Old Radnor church and run across the landscape, as if linking ancient sites and landscape features, one of which is the site of the standing stones in the valley bottom known as ‘Fourstones’.

Situated in a region referred to as the Walton Basin, the Four Stones are the only confirmed Welsh example of a four-poster stone circle. The circle is about 16½ ft (5 m) across and the stone heights range from 3 ft (1 m) to 6 ft (1.9 m). The tallest stone at the North-west may have served to indicate the sun as it set behind the dome-shaped Whimble hill (visible in the distance, at centre-right of picture) on the Celtic festival days of Beltane and Lughnasa (present day May Day and Lammas). Like other standing stones in the region, the shapes of these stones appear to mimic the shapes of nearby hills. The stone at the South-west (left of picture) has three cupmarks on its upper surface, and it may have served to indicate the midwinter setting sun. A local legend tells of the stones going to the nearby Hindwell Pool for a drink whenever they hear the bells of Old Radnor church ringing! " thanks to Martin Powell

A mile to the east lies ‘Castle Ring’ an ancient hill fort and close by is Offa’s Dyke. Built in the 8th. century, Offa’s Dyke is a significant feature of the landscape, wending it’s way across the Border Country and is now a long distance footpath enjoyed by many walkers. A site of even greater archeological significance has been discovered more recently: An unusually large ring ditch near Walton Court Farm, in Radnorshire’s Walton Basin. The ring ditch, which was identified as a cropmark from aerial photography, measures around 100m diameter and is defined by a relatively narrow ditch. Part of the site underlies two Roman marching camps and the excavation was designed to test their relationship to the ring ditch.

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