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Wayland's Smithy in May | by Giles Watson's poetry and prose
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Wayland's Smithy in May

This is one of the hundreds of pictures I have taken of Wayland's Smithy, many of which are already on my photostream. Legend has it that if you leave your horse tethered outside the chambered tomb overnight, and leave behind a silver coin, Wayland the Smith will shoe your horse by morning. Ideally, the coin should be a groat, since a measley fivepence would surely be short-change for a god disguised as a farrier.


Although most people visit the Smithy in summer, it is in winter that the monument seems to have its strongest presence. In the past, I have photographed and painted my own impressions of this breathtaking place on the morning of the winter solstice. It is beautiful at other times too: in spring, cowslips spring up all over the long mound beyond the stones, and the ground to either side is waist-deep in cow parsley (or Queen Anne Lace to romantics). In autumn, the beech leaves turn to the colour of rust, and carpet the ground before the entrance to the chamber.

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Taken on May 9, 2008