Folkdays: Silbury Hill

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The Avebury World Heritage Site is a prehistoric landscape which boasts stone circles, henges, burial mounds and barrows. It has been considered a site of pilgrimage since the Neolithic and Bronze age period in which these monuments were built, and continues to draw in visitors today. It’s a place rich with mystery and fascination, and much work has gone in to piecing together the lives of those who built it.

Yet unlike the barrows, built for burials, and the henges creating enclosures for large gatherings, the purpose of nearby Silbury Hill remains one of the most enduring mysteries. In this week’s Folkdays post, I’m going to explore this mystery a little.

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Folkdays: The Oak King

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With Midsummer only a day away, it feels apt to use this week’s Folkdays post to write something about the traditions and folklore associated with the summer solstice.

There were so many things I could have written about: whether it be beliefs, rituals, celebrations, or traditions. Yet, one story captured my imagination more than any other: the tale of The Oak King and The Holly King.

This story stems from pagan, particularly Celtic, mythology, yet it bears similarities to many other beliefs too. Read more about this story and these intriguing deities below!

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Folkdays: Rag Trees

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The walks, especially the less-trodden tracks, around the Clent, Walton, and Wychbury Hills are where I get most of my inspiration, and where I feel my creativity recharging. One of the most special spots on these walks is the dell behind St Kenelm’s church. The spring is said to be where the Anglo-Saxon boy-king Kenelm was martyred, and the trees and undergrowth which still grow there feel powerful in an ancient way.

It is no surprise then, that the people drawn to this spot feel compelled to follow an ancient Celtic ritual, and deck the surrounding branches with rags and ribbons.

The folk tradition of the ‘clootie well’ is a fascinating one: read more about it below.

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