Walking myths and legends

Visitors at Penshaw Monument, Sunderland

Myths and legends bring the landscape to life. These walks have been selected by our staff to give you a sense of the folklore you can discover while enjoying National Trust places.

Devil's Dyke histories and mysteries walk, West Sussex

The Devil got so annoyed at churches springing up in Sussex that began digging a dyke to let in the sea water and drown the people.
He threw clumps of earth around that became features including Chanctonbury Ring and Rackham Hill.
A woman saw the Devil and held up a candle, and in doing so, knocked a cockerel off its perch. The Devil heard the cockerel and, seeing the light, fled. The dyke was left half finished and is now known as Devil's Dyke.
Two earthworks nearby are known as the Devil's Grave and the Devil's Wife's Grave. The Devil was buried here when the fake light caused him to perish, and if you run around the Devil's Grave seven times holding your breath, he will appear.
Discover the Devil's Dyke walk

Blickling Mausoleum walk, Norfolk

Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second wife, was beheaded in 1536. She is often seen in a carriage drawn by headless horses, driven by a headless coachman.
On arrival at Blickling Hall, the coach and driver vanish, leaving headless Anne to roam in the hall until daylight.
Take the Blickling Mausoleum walk

Gelert's Grave walk, Beddgelert, Snowdonia

One day Prince Llywelyn went hunting without his dog Gelert. When the prince returned, the dog, stained with blood, met him.
The prince rushed to find his baby son, and found an empty, bloodied cot. Llywelyn stabbed the hound, thinking the worst.
The dog's dying yell was answered by a child's cry. Llywelyn discovered his boy unharmed, near a slain wolf. The prince, filled with remorse, never smiled again.
Go on Gelert's Grave walk

Lambton Worm Walk, Penshaw Monument, Tyne & Wear

On an unsuccessful fishing trip, the youngest of the Lambton family cursed the river with venom. He then caught a strange black worm. Walking home, he dropped the worm in the village well.
The worm grew to become a dragon. Lambton was informed that the price he must pay for introducing the dragon to the village was to kill the first thing he saw once the dragon had been slain. Failure would result in a curse on his family for nine generations.
He cut off the dragon's head and his father then ran out in joy, having forgotten his son's warning. Lambton couldn't kill his father. For nine generations, the family was cursed.
Take the Lambton Worm walk

Black Mountain walk, Antrim, Northern Ireland

A man called Patrick was sold to a landowner and made to work as a shepherd. For years he lived with sheep, finding solace in his faith.
A voice told him that it was time to escape, saying, 'your ship is ready'. Patrick travelled for over 200 miles to Wexford, where a boat heading for Britain was waiting.
Take the Black Mountain walk

Discovering Dewerstone Wood walk, Devon

This crag is named after Dewer, the dreaded Wisht Huntsman devil. He terrorises the moor at night and haunts The Dewerstone.
Appearing as a figure in black, he lured or chased travellers to the highest crag and then disappeared, leaving them to fall into the jaws of his hounds.
It is said that following snow years ago, the traces of a cloven hoof alongside a human footprint were found leading up to the highest summit of the rock. 
Do the Dewerstone Wood walk
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