The legend of Alderley Edge

A white pony grazes in a field at Alderley Edge
A white pony featured in the mysterious legend of Alderley Edge National Trust / Linda Whiting

The Legend of Alderley Edge provided some inspiration to Alan Garner when he wrote The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. Various focal points including the Druids Circle and Engine Vein are still visible for visitors to see and are part of the Wizard Walk.

There was once a farmer who had a milk-white mare.

He decided to sell it; so one day, he set off to Macclesfield Fair. As he reached Alderley Edge the horse stopped and refused to move, no matter what the farmer did. He saw an old man standing by the side of the road, holding a staff in his hand.  

On the way to Macclesfield

The old man offered to buy the horse, but the farmer refused, thinking that he would get a better price at the market.  

The farmer went on to Macclesfield; and although everyone praised the mare nobody would buy it. So, at the end of the day, the farmer set off for home.

On the way home

When he arrived at Alderley Edge the old man was waiting for him. This time he did agree to sell; and the old man told the farmer to follow him.  

Through the iron gates  

He led the farmer along many paths until they came to a big rock. He touched the rock with his staff, and the rock split open to show a pair of iron gates. The old man told the farmer not to be afraid, but to come with him. The iron gates, opened, and beyond them a passage went down into the hill.         

The last battle of the world

The farmer followed the old man into the hill, leading the horse, and they came to a cavern. Inside the cavern were 140 knights in silver armour and beside all but one was a white horse. The old man said that the knights were waiting to fight the last battle of the world, and that he was to wake them when that moment came. But there was one horse missing.  

Precious jewels

The old man took the farmer’s mare and laid it down in enchanted sleep; then he showed the farmer into another cavern, which was filled with gold and silver and precious stones. He told the farmer that he was to take as much of the treasure as he could carry, in payment.

The wizard, as the farmer now knew him to be, led him back up the passage to the iron gates. The farmer stepped outside, and when he turned round, the wizard and the gates were gone.