Welcome to the vale...

Moelbryn is the ancient celtic name for the Malvern Hills, a dramatic ridge of volcanic rock that spans the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire and dominates the surrounding countryside. Towards the south of the Malverns lies the Eastnor Vale, a picturesque valley amongst the woods and ridges of which lies the village of Eastnor.

This weblog focuses on the stories, folklore and history of the area - the hills, buildings, woods and ruins, tales of faerie folk, witches, druids and giants.

Please leave a comment if you have found this blog useful or have enjoyed reading.

Peace x

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Between the two Camps

Moving northward from Midsummer Camp we first pass through The Gullet, between Eastnor Deer Park and the infamous gullet quarry, amongst beautiful natural woodland. The next peak is that of Swinyard (or Swinyerd) Hill and takes its name from the times of Edward I when it was granted to the citizens of the nearby town of Ledbury as grazing for their pigs.

The Gullet & Swinyard Hill

Rising from the Silurian pass moving northward toward the Herefordshire Beacon is the sinisterly titled Hangmans Hill, once the location of a gibbet originally constructed by the Red Earl. The Red Earl of Gloucestershire married the daughter of Edward I, Joan d'Arce, and in doing so received the rights to the Malvern chase upon which he made sure no one encroached.

Beyond Hangmans Hill the ridge turns slightly westward and rises sharply toward the ancient ramparts of the British Camp on Millennium Hill and the towering Herefordshire Beacon whilst to the east the fern covered Broad Down slopes gently into woodland.

Northward from Midsummer Camp

On the western slopes between Hangmans Hill and the British Camp a small cave can be found in an outcrop of rock near the ridge. The caves most common names are Clutters Cave, Walm's Cave or the Giants' Cave. Though to children the stories of a giant in the cave may be exciting, there is actually little room for someone of average size to live comfortably, let alone a giant! However that name may stem from a story involving the Collwall Stone, that currently lies a few feet from it's original location as a centerpiece to a road junction near the centre of the village. The story goes that the giant saw his wife with another man in Collwall and in anger, ripped the stone from the hillside and hurled it at her, killing her on the spot. The resultant hole from which the stone originated being the Giants Cave.

Clutters Cave

The name Walms Cave comes from that of St Walms (or Waums) Well, which is on the slopes below the cave. Henry Somers-Cox suggested that this name could originate from a hermit or missionary that lived nearby, perhaps in the cave. It is thought that the cave may actually have been built by the Druids. There was once a panel, now barely visible, cut into the back wall of the cave, into which light was said to fall at 3 p.m. on the winter solstice. At the equinoxes the upper edge of the illuminated area coincides with the angle between the floor and back wall of the cave.

Autumn sunset from inside Clutters Cave

5 comments:

geoff said...

Great addition to a great site. Note WS Symonds, 1883, HANLEY CASTLE, also gives Owen Glendower's Cave for Clutters.
Keep up the good work! I'm trying to establish at what - if any - Latitude is the sunrise angle exactly the Latitude value at Midsummer. Stonehenge is close: currently 51 11 plays 52 30 ish (though this is stylised 51 or 360/7 elsewhere and MOVES - it was once 51 30). This is the centre Stonehenge to Hele Stone sunrise celebration. I'm thinking Midsummer Hill might be more accurate - 52 degrees. Note the sunrise angle is to axis North-South (it's circa 39 to E-W). I find some mention of a place called "Sunrising" - but I really would like the cut in the hill visible from Sacrifice Stone identifying. Wonderful Stuff!

MartinDiMaggio said...

Hey, could you tell me where the best place is to start a walk of the hills south of british camp?

Moggz said...

Hello there,

There's a large car park at the top of the British Camp on the A449 Ledbury/Worcester Road.

There is also a car park on Midsummer Hill on the A438. The car park is at the crest of the hill as the road passes through hollybush. From here there are nive walks across Ragged Stone and the gloucestershire beacon around the White Leaved Oak area, or to the north there are walks around midsummer and hollybush hills and Eastnor Deer Park.

hope this helps,

Moggz

Tim Crump said...

What a fascinating blog! One of the most interesting I've seen. Wondering if you have any info about the rumoured connection of Clutter's Cave to Owain Glynd┼Ár (Owen Glendower) or Sir John Oldcastle and its possible use as one of their hiding places.

Moggz said...

Hi Tim! Other than the reference to this book (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hanley-Castle-Dodo-Press-Symonds/dp/1409913082), in the comment from Geoff above, I've not read any additional information about this. Glad you like the site. Maybe I will finish it some day :)