|I have been to Wayland's Smithy about half a dozen times since I have lived in the north Wilts area, not really that often considering it is one of my favourite places.
One of the aspects I love about visiting this site is the walk of about half a mile or so along the Ridgeway from the nearest parking area; this gets you in the right frame of mind. Yesterday afternoon, I had spent some time with a friend who is a garden enthusiast – I mention this as an aside because earlier we had visited the Woolstone Mill garden which has one of the best views of Uffington White Horse (seeing the White Horse from their little tree house there was a true delight).
The friend later obliged by driving up to the Ridgeway from village of Ashbury; this is also the best place to head for if you are visiting by public transport: take the 47* (Newbury) bus from Swindon to Ashbury, picking up a downland path by the church which leads up to the Ridgeway (this just in itself is a lovely walk) then about a mile along the Ridgeway towards Uffington.
Yesterday, late afternoon it was still quite hot and we had neither hat nor drink with us (not clever when walking the Ridgeway). We walked briskly along this particularly beautiful section of the Ridgeway, ancient hedgerows on both sides. Walking into the Wayland's enclosure, with its massive beeches, on a hot summer's day is like walking into an oasis of shade and cool; thirst disappeared and for once the site was completely deserted. I was able to go inside the two small side chambers which are like West Kennet Long Barrow in miniature - the shafting afternoon sunlight playing on the stones as I examined their surfaces. Like most of the long barrows in the Wiltshire/Cotswold area some reconstruction has obviously taken place to the entrance.
As we walked around the barrow a couple turned up, headed for the end of the long barrow and lay down in the long grass looking up at the sky. Their presence only added to the peaceful ambience, probably my best visit yet.
Note: The small EH information board near the entrance of the enclosure is discreet and helpful.
*Public transport information below:
Posted by tjj
1st July 2010ce
Edited 1st July 2010ce