The landscape of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean has given inspiration to many myths along with the Legends born from it’s people.
From ghosts in Raglan Castle to ancient standing stones, if you’re interested in visiting sites which blur the lines between folklore and history then you can experience something of these myths and legends while staying nearby in one of our large holiday homes.
The Wye Valley contains some of the most haunted places in Wales. The list below has some of the places you can visit just a short journey from our cottages. You can find a fuller list here.
The Librarian Ghost of Raglan Castle
Seen as one of the last true Welsh castles to be built around the 15th-16th century, Raglan Castle still stands today, but there is at least one ghost who hasn’t quite let go of the past. Legend has it that when the English Civil War raged, the librarian of the Castle had the foresight to hide some of his valuable books and manuscripts underground. His fears came true when the Castle was eventually attacked and the library burned to the ground, however the Librarian can sometimes still be seen guarding his secret tunnel of priceless literature.
Ghostly Figures of Swan Pool – Redbrook
Just south of Monmouth, at the Swan Pool in Redbrook, is the home of a number of ghostly figures. The Rising Woman is said to be the victim of a murder, along with her young child. Some claim to have seen her ghost rising from the water, with her baby in her arms emitting a mournful cry. Local legends also report of an ethereal dog that patrols the pool as well as a phantom coach which has another woman staring out from the window. With so much paranormal activity going on you might not want to visit the Swan Pool after all!
The Virtuous Well – Trellech
Originally associated with the Celtic Goddess Annis and then the well was later Christianised to St Anne. Water from the well is believed to run under the nearby Three Stones which give Trellech its name. It is also apparently the last of nine holy wells in Trellech. It’s reputation soared in the 17th century as a place to be healed of various afflictions of the time. The Celtic tradition of clootie offerings being hung from the trees close by is also in evidence at certain points of the year. Over time people have also used it as a wishing well looking for good fortune or a promise of marriage. Not forgetting that there have been reports of Fairies on the site for many centuries. For such simple spot it has a rich history worth looking into.
Harold’s Stones – Trellech
The three standing stones that ostensibly bear the name of the Saxon King Harold who defeated three Welsh chieftains on the spot actually gave the town of Trellech it’s name. The stones are one of the best examples of megaliths in Monmouthshire and actually date back to the Bronze Age, although little is known of their significance. The most outlandish legend associated with the stones is that they were thrown into place by a mythical giant known as Jack O’Kent.
The Devils Pulpit – Tintern
Along the Offas Dyke footpath you may come across the The Devil’s Pulpit situated just above Tintern Abbey. The legend states that the Devil once preached to the Monks at the Abbey in an attempt to turn them away from their faith. The view from this point is fantastic as you look oout over Tintern Abbey, the River Wye and the hills of the Wye Valley. Bring a camera!
King Arthur’s Cave – The Doward
Whilst being attributed to the myth of King Arthur makes this worth a visit, the real history of this cave is just as interesting. Having been discovered in the 19th Century it was gradually explored and revealed to contain evidence supporting it’s use as far back as the Early Paleolithic period. These days the caves are home to many varieties of wildlife and is now part of a nature reserve. There is a lovely walk that takes you from King Arthur’s Cave via and ancient hillfort and up to Monmouth past the Seven Sisters cliffs. Though we may see King Arthur as a legend now the cave gives you a sense of the kind of environment these stories originally came to life in.
Penyard Castle – Penyard nr Ross-on-Wye
This set of ruins date back to an original building from the 14th century. It’s unsettling atmosphere, hidden at the edge of a forest and cast in shadows, is enhanced by the legend of hidden treasure somewhere under the castle that is guarded by a large bird who will attack anyone who comes to claim it!