"tentatively confirmed the place of Alderley Edge at the dawn of metal working. The members of the project team believe that metal prospectors came to Alderley Edge at the beginning of the Bronze Age."
There is a new Manchester Museum website covering their four years of research at Alderley Edge. Some good photos, a searchable database, teaching materials AND a downloadable for the first recorded instance of the Wizard Legend (only two printed copies survive - one in the Bodleian, one in the British Library.) I was involved with this - a fascinating project. PP
Alderley Edge is a top place - something about it, from the sign saying *To the edge* lol - for those on the edge - to everything else! Something about this place unlocks thoughts, sights - all kinds of things - I don't know why.
Explore! It is much bigger than it looks! Easy to get lost. It's one of those places where you don't want to tell too much, because each time you go you find new areas. Some people think it is much smaller, lol - it's a strange one. Behind the farm is a path that leads to ahidden valley with a waterfall, and that leads up to an awesome set of beech trees - a truly magical *heart of the forest* kind of place. Down at the river crossing there there is a ledge on the rock you can sit on, and at night, I guarantee you will hear strange, strange stuff!
Shrouded in folklore and history, it has a magical vibe. In the day, lots of tourists, kids, dog walkers... in the evening also, but less and less. At night, often groups of kids go up to the main edge points - particularly the one near the layby - smoking pot, drinking - can be intimidating and best avoided. On a moonless night it is pitch black in the forest. Cool with a few friends, but on your own, treacherous. Most of the to your death falls have been fenced off now, lol! But the paths have steep drops and ankle-breakers all around.
I've been there late in to the night and had fires there - others report being told off for having fires. Get right off the beaten track is probably the best bet for a camp out.
There's a *folly* stone circle that is nice to have a fire in - but you may get bothered!
The well is near the lay by entrance - up the path and to the left - but down first - not immediate left in to some trees - down the steps.
The spring and cave are the opposite direction - right from the look out point, then down in to the valley. To the right, before then is the Beacon Mound, where an armada beacon was placed. I hear tell it is a barrow, and it looks and feels like one.
A nice long walk is hare hill and across to some national trust gardens about two miles away - quite a trek though!
Back In the main area, there is a pub *the wizzard* and a tea room that is open in season in the day - very nice. Fromt he tea room/Wizzard - not the same building, by the way - there is a path that goes in to the woods. Bear left as much as possible, or, fromt he middle layby go right and stick by the road-side path (which is inside the fence - you can just see the road) and you come to a big cliff - it's pretty much two minutes behind the wizzard, next to the road-ish - and there is a deep horizontal mine working there that you can go in - like a deep cave... cool!
All in all - lovely, magical place. Enjoy - and look out for Merlin!
PS - here be adders! Once found a dead one - and they are HUGE! I was expecting them to be small - but this had a body as big as my forearm! And I'm quite big! So look out for them!
Alderley Edge is a truly mystical spot. It's full of boundaries - dangerous places :) You can walk out to Stormy Point and stand on the pink stone to look out at the valley below. Beneath you is a huge network of Bronze age mines.
There's a big NT carpark which I discovered more recently, but it's much nicer to park in the layby where the big sign with the finger points " TO THE EDGE" and walk from there.
"We are put back in touch with earlier parts of our culture, when supernatural and inhuman creatures – from whom we thought we had learnt our sense of good and evil – inhabited a world we did not feel we controlled" - A.S. Byatt
Lower down the Hill, just below the Beacon, is a Spring of very clear Sweet Water, that issues pretty plentifully out of the Rock, called the Holy Well, which, no doubt, in times of Superstition, had its Virtues, which are now unknown, though many young people, in the Summer time, resort to it in parties, and regale themselves with this water, which is still supposed to have a prolific quality in it.
There are at least nine wells at different parts of the Edge, the more conspicuous being the Wizard Well and the Holy Well. These, and especially the latter, were in ancient times connected with well-worship, and propitiatory offerings were made by people to the presiding deities, and also were frequently resorted to in Christian times, but doubtless the cult was observed here in much earlier days.
Their healing powers were considered to be unfailing; the barren, the blind, the lame, and bodily-afflicted constantly made their way thither; maidens whispered their vows and prayers over them, their lovers and their future lives being their theme. Crooked silver coins were dropped into the well, but these have been cleared out long ago.
At the present time the devotees are satisfied, in their economical habit, to offer mere pins and hairpins; the custom is not dead yet, for some of the immersed pins are still quite uncorroded and bright. Some of the sex deposit the pins in their straight and original form, others bend them only at right angle, and as many again seem to consider the charm alone to act effectively when carefully and conscientiously doubled up. Maidens of a more superficial cast just give the slightest twist to the object.
To judge from the state of corrosion, and the old-fashioned thick, globular heads, some of these pins must have been in the well for at least sixty years. We have brought three cases to show the various forms into which the visitors have tortured the pins, and classified them into groups. There are occasionally to be seen also a few white pebbles in the two wells.
From Recent archaeological discoveries at Alderley Edge by C Roeder and F S Graves, in the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society for 1905 (v23). I seem to remember that Alan Garner said he got his pocket-money from (the Wizard's?) well when he was a child.
[visited 26/5/12] Faced with a choice of locations for a picnic with the only criteria for choice being close to Manchester Airport, I picked Alderly Edge. Unfortunately as we were accompanied by an 18month old who walks at a speed slightly faster than a tortoise, the only prehistory I got to see was this stone. I'll be back on my own I suspect to see the mines.
Sadly like Ravenfeather I'm just not feeling this stone. Superficially it looks like a fallen stone, but look closer and it seems much more like a bit of bedrock. It could be a large diamond shape with a large protusion or its a large protusion from the bedrock...
Access is very easy and wheelchair friendly, just keep right and on the main paths as you come out of the national trust carpark.
Easily found by walking down the footpath at the side of the Wizard Inn which leads to the edge, we found the stone as we were heading back to the car.
Although it's supposed to be a fallen menhir I really wasn't feeling it. It seems more like a natural rocky outcrop, as it has a huge slab of a base, I can't make out how this stone would have stood upright, unless of course all that's left now is the base of taller stone which has broken off.
It is clear though that this site has been used as a boundary marker for some considerable period of time, and it's just another of the fascinating oddities of Alderley Edge.
After visiting the Wizards Well (if you’re at Alderley Edge you have to really don’t you?) we walked in the opposite direction to come to the Holy Well. As we were there we saw a gentleman placing a leaf into a crack in the rock to allow the water to run off into the carved stone trough below. He explained he was the site guardian, who came every day to check on the place and put a leaf into the crevice so the water could flow. A friendly and interesting guy he explained that he had inherited the task from an old local woman who was now too elderly and infirm to continue doing it. He was also able to direct us to some of the other sites around the edge.
Next to the flow of water of the Holy Well a small cave has been carved out of the rock, with clear toolmarks visible inside. So whilst not ancient the cave has certainly been in existence for several hundred years. It seems possible that it was carved out as a meditative space, as it seems like a lot of effort to go to in order to make a shelter, when plenty of natural caves and mineworkings dot the edge. A tree atop the outcrop looked as if it had the simulacrum of a face at the base of its trunk, and the woodland setting around the area adds to the magical atmosphere. You can see why Alderley Edge has proved an inspiration for a series of books.
I hunker into the cave for a while, and it does retain a calm and peaceful atmosphere here, away from the crowds of people who are visiting some of the more popular parts of the edge. The water that bubbles up through the stone is drinkable (so long as you take it from the source and not the somewhat stagnant water trough!) and cupping my hands beneath the leaf I take a swig of the fresh and slightly coppery water.
Although not an ancient site as such, the water must have risen through this limestone outcrop for thousands of years, and as such must have been a special place in the area for the ancestors. Now it’s one of the nicest spots on Alderley Edge and well worth a visit (ho ho!)