Wayland Smithy long barrow was used for burials in the Neolithic period over 5,500 years ago. It is situated near the ancient Ridgeway path about one mile west of the White Horse Hill in South Oxfordshire.
Wayland Smithy Entrance
Excavations have revealed the existence of an earlier barrow covered by the one that can be seen today. The earlier mound was a box type structure of stone and wood, covered with earth and paved with sarsen stones. The remains of fourteen people were found inside.
The second barrow was a trapezoid mound with a facade of six large sarsen stones. This later chamber contained the remains of eight people. Both tombs were the focal point of ceremonies that linked the living and the dead.
Ridgeway path looking towards White Horse Hill from Wayland Smithy
Wayland the smith was a God in Norse and Saxon folklore. He was held captive by king Niduth for a time and kept in a cave. He escaped and killed the king’s two sons. According to legend Wayland lived in various caves and burial mounds. Local belief maintains that if a horse needing a shoe is left at the smithy with a silver coin the horse will be shod.
Wayland Smithy looking along the barrow from the right hand side.
Wayland Smithy from the Ridgeway Path, South Oxfordshire