Three of us decided to take a walk along the ancient Ridgeway - a route for travellers since prehistoric times.
Actually it's about 80/90miles long but we are two different generations who grew up in different but nearby places just under the hills, so the bit we know best is between Wantage (Oxon), the White Horse Hill at Uffington and on past Wayland's Smithy to Foxhill (Wilts). We walked about 3 miles...phew...puff, puff .....
We were all in need of blowing a few cobwebs away - and we did - nattering randomly along the way in that comfortable way of one conversation drifting into another. Nice!
Wayland's Smith was our objective, walking from the car park for White Horse Hill it's supposed to be roughly a three mile round trip - aching feet suggest a bit further, but I'm out of shape.....
There is something truly spiritual and unspoilt about this ancient pathway without any kind of twenty first century influence and it's easy to imagine ancient peoples walking the same chalk route along the crest of the downs.
The rolling hills and farmland stretch out on all sides and down to the villages in the Vale of the White Horse, the birds flit in and out of the wild hedges and there's a huge variety of native flowers and grasses. Even a bank of thistles look magnificent in this setting.
Of course history and archaeology define Wayland Smithy as a Neolithic long barrow but we know better....it is of course the home of the fairy smith Wayland (Wayland/Welund, being the Saxon god of metalworking). In times long gone a traveller would leave a silver coin at the cave's entrance and tether his horse to be shod. He must go away for a while and never look, so no one ever saw the smith - when he returned the coin had gone and the horse had been shod.
This is the local tale, but there are others, some gory and others that seem to have their origin in Nordic myths and legends.
Today it is a peaceful but magical place in a green copse and a favourite destination for walkers just off the main path.
Thank you for looking