Avebury Tales

It is said that anyone who stands on the eye of the Uffington horse and turns around three times clockwise with their eyes closed whilst making a wish will have that wish come true.

About ten years ago, I visited Avebury, an ancient site in England near Oxford, with my family. A local couple from the nearby town of Calne accompanied us and served as our guides. Covering about 28 acres, Avebury includes three stone circles, one of which is large enough to contain the entire village. Unlike Stonehenge, you can actually walk among the stones, and our guides produced dowsing rods for my ten-year old daughter Kate to use as she neared the stones of the outer circle. When Kate walked closer to the large, rough-hewn stones, her dowsing rods crossed, and she laughed in delight. According to our guides, Avebury is located along a ley line called the Ridgeway, thought to be the oldest known road in Britain. They explained that many important sites (such as Avebury, Stonehenge and nearby Silbury Hil) were located along this ancient track, and it was thought that they were placed there because of the energetic qualities Kate was picking up with her dowsing rods.

After exploring the stones, we shopped in the National Trust store in the village, and ate lunch at the Red Lion Pub, a great old building with a thatched roof, supposedly haunted by a ghost named Florie. Once we had finished with sandwiches and ghost stories, we drove north along the Ridgeway to the Uffington White Horse, a giant figure carved into the chalk hills. Estimated at over 3,000 years old, the local villagers keep the chalk outlines cleared. Just below the white horse is a small hill known as Dragon Hill, where legend has it that St. George killed his dragon, and the bare patch of exposed chalk on the flat top of the hill is where the dragon’s blood spilled. Because of that legend, it is sometimes speculated that the chalk figure above represents a dragon, and not a horse.

Just over a mile away from the Uffington White Horse is Wayland’s Smithy, also located on the Ridgeway. Three of us walked the mile to the ancient barrow, where we found a great number coins near the entrance to the tomb, and several ribbons tied in the trees above it. According to local legend, the barrow is home to the spirit of Wayland, the Saxon god of metalworking, who would shod any horse left overnight near the tomb, if coins were left as payment. Currently, the National Trust collects the coins periodically, and donates them to local charities. Take a walk along the Ridgeway, visit the Smithy and the Uffington Horse and the grand avenue leading into Avebury, and discover for yourself the energies of this mysterious and ancient landscape.