This is absolutely one of our favourite sites to visit. This beautiful, Neolithic long barrow is secluded, surrounded by trees and not far from the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire. Footpaths lead to the site from both the Uffington Castle carpark and the B4000 which crosses the Ridgeway around a kilometre or so away. You can walk there easily from the National Trust White Horse Hill car park, but you can't drive there; the closest road to it is Knighton Hill, which is narrow, with few places to leave vehicles.
The long barrow is now closed, but you can still get into the little entrance chamber and enjoy its energy.
It's really a magickal place - so quiet and still, with only the songs of birds and the rustling of the trees to accompany your stay. This wonderful place puts us in mind of the long barrow of West Kennet, another favourite of ours. We visit Wayland's a lot, we never tire of spending time here and no matter what time of year, have always managed to get the place to ourselves.
THE LEGEND OF WAYLAND:
Wayland was a smith of exceptional skill, whose reputation for beautiful weaponry and jewellery was known far and wide. However, King Niduth of Sweden wanted to possess everything Wayland made. He kidnapped the smith, cruelly ham-strung him to stop him escaping and demanded that he worked solely for Niduth in the royal workshops. Wayland pretended to go along with this and then tricked the king’s two young sons into his forge, where he decapitated them and made exquisite gold goblets from their skulls and stunning jewels from their eyes and teeth.
He presented these items to the unsuspecting king and queen, and their daughter, who were all delighted. As the king was drinking from his beautiful new goblets, his daughter, the Princess Beahilda, asked Wayland if he would mend a beautiful ring her father had given her. Recognising the ring as one he had made for his own lovely wife, the Swan-Princess, Wayland became even angrier. He drugged the poor girl, raped her, and flew away on magic wings, taunting Niduth as he went that the King of Sweden’s only male heir now was growing inside Beahilda’s womb – and it was his.
Wayland eventually came to rest on the Berkshire downs, where he made his new home inside an ancient tomb. Throughout the following centuries, he created many wonderful things there, including the sword, Excalibur, that the wizard Merlin asked him to fashion. People say that if you leave your horse there, un-shod, in the morning you will return to discover that your horse has beautiful new shoes - courtesy of Wayland!